With the aftermath of Christmas, this can be a very expensive time of year.
Families that find themselves in financial trouble after Christmas can try the local credit union and see if they can help. Also, if you have a bit of money to spare you could consider saving with a credit union so that others in need can borrow.
Unlike high street banks, credit unions are run as cooperatives – by the members, for the members. It means that when you become a saver, or borrower, with your local credit unionyou also become a member and have a say in how it’s run.
Have a look on the website https://www.creditunionsofwales.co.uk/find-my-nearest-credit-union/ to find one nearest to you.
We need to keep supporting our local food banks. People are often very generous in the run up to Christmas, but many families will continue to struggle and may need our help even more.
Of course, in what is, in international terms, one of the richest countries of the world it is terribly wrong that our fellow citizens depend on charity to get by. This can’t go on. Wales has the highest relative poverty rate in the UK.
Plaid Cymru has called for the Labour led Welsh Government to adopt a clear plan to tackle poverty in Wales. They’ve also called for powers over welfare and benefits – like they have in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
No-one claims that taking control of the administration of universal credit would solve all the problems, but what Plaid Cymru is seeking is full control of the benefits system.
Plaid Cymru voted against the Welsh Government’s childcare plans because it unfairly discriminates against unemployed parents or parents who are looking to return to work. The proposals risk increasing inequalities between the children of working parents and those of non-working parents. This is particularly true in relation to the school readiness and educational attainment of children from the poorest households.
Plaid Cymru believes that all children aged 3 to 4 should be offered 30 hours a week of free early education, giving children from all backgrounds the best start in life. It could also provide an excellent starting point for the further roll-out of free childcare for younger children aged 1-3, further enabling parents to return to the workforce and help raise families out of poverty.
One other issue around this time of year is the importance of protecting your pipes from the impact of freezing temperatures.
Severe cold weather, as we saw in the area back in March of 2018, can cause water pipes to freeze and burst – leaving homes and businesses with no water, low pressure or even flooding.
Frozen water expands and can crack even the strongest pipe. You may not notice this immediately, and only know you have a problem when the cracked pipe thaws and water starts leaking from it. Urgent and expensive repairs are then needed to fix the problem.
Customers can protect their pipes with inexpensive insulation or lagging kits, which are available from local homeware or DIY stores.
Businesses, schools and buildings like community centres or chapels are particularly vulnerable to burst pipes during the winter. This is because they are often empty for days, meaning a burst pipe – inside or outside the building – can go unnoticed and cause huge volumes of water to leak and flood.
Advice on insulating water pipes can be found on the Welsh Water website: www.dwrcymru.com/coldweather
If you wish to contact Helen about these or any other issues email: