Cost-of-Living: Now and in the Future
As the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, I am tasked with ensuring our public bodies act today for tomorrow.
We are living in challenging times where the very real pressures and demands to help communities weather a storm are at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Interventions to prevent a crisis getting worse are important but our actions in response to the cost-of-living crisis must help our current communities, whilst also preventing crises like this to resurface again in the future.
In Wales, we are in a unique and powerful position to make real change for the communities of today and of our future generations. Because of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, we are already on track, and considering future generations in our decision making is becoming second nature. Now, we need to come together and expand our horizons to make sure that we protect our communities from experiencing this type of crisis, to this extent, again.
It is clear that the economic position across the UK and the very stark reduction in the funding available will make new investments for the future incredibly difficult for the Welsh Government as they seek to protect vital public services, many of which are preventative by their very nature and important to the long-term well-being of Welsh communities.
But it is also apparent that in the face of crisis, the Welsh Government and their public, private, voluntary sector, and trade union partners can work together to find innovative solutions. The Welsh approach to partnership working and collaboration was vital during the COVID-19 pandemic. We can respond to deliver connected solutions again which go beyond just putting a sticking plaster on the cost-of-living crisis.
The importance of involvement in decision-making could not be more crucial. Inequalities are deepening, with the disproportionate impact of the cost-of-living crisis on women, Black and Ethnic Minority people, migrants, older people and disabled people. Any action that the government decides to take must involve those hardest hit by the crisis.
This paper sets out a number of policy areas which could drive multiple long term benefits to Wales’ well-being goals, whilst also helping families who face huge cost-of-living pressures in the short and medium term. They should be considered as the Government and others frame their response to the cost-of-living crisis.