Leanne Wood: “I endorse The Big Issue’s call for a poverty prevention unit”

The Big Issue has challenged party leaders to put poverty prevention at the heart of government. All have agreed, and here Leanne Wood explains how Plaid Cymru would act on this

The Big Issue believes that there must be a focus on ending poverty in Britain. And the only REAL way to break the poverty cycle is to work to prevent it taking hold. It’s why we need a real shift, to a new, systematic strategy of prevention. 

Led by Big Issue founder Lord John Bird, we’re pushing for a Poverty Prevention Unit to keep the spotlight on poverty. The £78bn plus that governments spend every year on the consequences of poverty would be much better targeted by prevention.

We’ve challenged every major party leader in Britain to back our call for a non-partisan unit, which would put poverty prevention right at the heart of national decision-making. A team of people who would keep ministers’ feet to the fire, and ensure this BIGGEST ISSUE can’t be kicked into the long grass.

All party leaders are in agreement on this. Here, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood responds to The Big Issue’s prevention plan


“Wales is currently one of the poorest of all the nations and regions of Europe, despite being a part of one of the richest states in the world. This has a severe impact on our budget and our ability to protect people from poverty. One in every three children in Wales are being raised in poverty and that this is happening in part of the fifth largest economy in the world is wholly unacceptable and wholly avoidable.

One in every three children in Wales are being raised in poverty – and this is happening in part of the fifth largest economy in the world

Whilst tackling poverty in Wales is largely a matter for the Welsh government rather than the UK government, there are some measures that must be taken at UK level. Plaid Cymru will demand that Wales receives its fair share of funding from Westminster and that we don’t lose a single penny after leaving the EU, as was promised by the Leave campaign. This will allow the Welsh economy to grow and the Welsh Government to invest more in its anti-poverty measures.

We have a three-point plan to tackle child poverty including scrapping the Bedroom Tax and providing free full-time nursery places for all three-year-olds. We will also create a publicly owned energy company which will operate on a not-for-dividend basis, using any profit to subsidise energy bills for the poorest households.

We will ensure a Living Pension for all and guarantee the pension triple lock. We will oppose increases in the state pension retirement age and ensure equality for women. We will continue to oppose the cuts to welfare pushed through by the Tories with the support of the Labour Party and fight to reverse the cuts already made.


The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.

Plaid Cymru wholeheartedly endorses The Big Issue’s calls for a poverty prevention unit working across health, education, social services, police and prisons.”

The Big Issue has asked for YOU to help us hold political leaders to account – to become part of our Activist Army and challenge MPs to back The Big Issue’s prevention manifesto.