Even It Up: A blueprint for change | Poverty

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Oxfam’s vision is of a world without poverty
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  Even it Up: a Blueprint for Change   @oxfamcymru  2      P   h   o   t   o  :   F   o   t   o   l   i   a The National Assembly for Wales  3   Contents INTRODUCTION  ............................................................................................................. 41. TACKLING Economic Inequality and povERtY  .......................................... 5 The next Welsh Government must act – first by accepting a definition of poverty that is broader than just income. It should commit to listening to people in poverty by working with a new poverty Truth Commission. Work should be led by a member of government dedicated to tackling poverty and inequality, a new Deputy Minister in the Finance Department, who is able to co-ordinate responses from across Welsh Government. 2. WOMEN, WORK AND WAGES  ............................................................................... 12 Work to make Wales a Living Wage nation as an important first step in tackling poverty in Wales. The next Welsh Government should commission an independent review of childcare in Wales and achieve gender balance in decision-making, in particular at senior level. 3. A GLOBALLY RESPONSIBLE WALES  ............................................................... 16 Commit to retaining the Wales for Africa programme, which has benefitted communities on both continents. Our young people should have the chance to become active global citizens, and the recommendations of the “Sustainable Futures” report on Global Education should be implemented in full.Improve the co-ordination of the Disasters and Emergency Committee in Wales. Provide a carbon assessment of Welsh Government’s budgets and commit to re-fitting a third of all housing stock by 2020, to make them more environmentally friendly, reducing fuel poverty at the same time. 4. A Welcoming Wales ........................................................................................ 22 Wales has a proud tradition of welcoming those in need. The next Welsh Government must provide support to local authorities in taking part in refugee resettlement schemes, and understand that different local authorities will need varying types of support. Cardiff and Swansea are both Cities of Sanctuary, and the Welsh Government should seek to make Wales the first Nation of Sanctuary, matching public mood. Endnotes  ................................................................................................................... 25  4 Introduction Oxfam’s vision is of a world without poverty. Significant progress towards achieving this vision is being made. In just 15 years, extreme poverty has been halved. In 15 more, we can end it for good. Unfortunately the twin challenges of economic inequality and climate change threaten to undo much of the work that has been done to tackle poverty and hinder future efforts for positive change. To overcome poverty and create a just society for everyone, we need to challenge the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few. On current trends, by 2016 just 1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99% put together. 1  We need to even it up, and to do so urgently. 2 In the UK, the five richest families are wealthier than the bottom 20% of the entire population. 3  Here in Wales, the wealthiest 16% of people have as much wealth as everyone else put together. 4  Rates of pay have remained low for many people, while the incomes of the richest have continued to rise. The extent of low pay has not changed in a decade and poverty rates have remained above the national average for the past three years. Half of all Welsh households in poverty have at least one adult in paid employment, 5  disproving the much quoted adage that a person can work themselves – and their family – out of poverty. If we’re going to tackle poverty and inequality, we need to spend more time listening to people in poverty and responding to what matters to them as individuals.The surge in the number of people seeking emergency food support in Wales betrays the desperate, daily struggle facing many people, up and down the country, in just having access to the basics: like putting a meal on the table. Food banks must not become an institutionalised fixture of Welsh society. There also remains a strong gender dimension to the face of Welsh poverty and inequality. Women are over-represented in low paid, part-time, insecure and temporary work. 6  Women’s voices are also often absent in decision-making roles in government and public bodies, resulting in “gender blind” policies, leading once again to ineffective solutions that fail to address the issues at hand. Wales is part of a global community and must act accordingly. We know that climate change is costing lives. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress. 7  This must become a top priority for the next Welsh Government if it is to ensure that Wales honours its commitment under the pioneering Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to become a globally responsible nation. Investment in Education for Global Citizenship is a necessary step to secure our future economic wellbeing and to foster a globally responsible outlook for generations to come. This will also help us to continue our proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need. No-one wants to be an asylum-seeker or refugee; people want to be at home and live free from fear. Let us provide them with the welcome they deserve.In the pages to come, we set out our Blueprint for Change which will help deliver a decent quality of life for all, without compromising the ability of others, either here or abroad, now or in the future, to attain an acceptable quality of life. Our policy calls are based on evidence and experiences gathered through our work with communities in Wales, the expertise of our partners and Oxfam’s work globally, ensuring that our policy solutions are effective and feasible within a devolved context. Not all political power rests in Wales but, where it does have power, the next Welsh Government should act boldly and, where it does not, be a strong and progressive advocate for change. Fundamentally, we are calling on all political parties in Wales to adopt these policies so that the incoming Welsh Government in 2016 may be a world-leading exemplar for other governments to emulate. Introduction
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