Quality childcare is part of the answer to ending child poverty, Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood has said.
Visiting a nursery in Llanelli, the party leader unveiled the party's three point plan to tackle child poverty.
Leanne Wood said that it is a damning indictment of Labour's legacy that 200,000 children in Wales are living in poverty, with 90,000 in severe child poverty. She said that Plaid Cymru's plan aims to break the cycle of poverty and lower educational attainment that comes with that.
Plaid Cymru's three point plan to tackle child poverty includes:
• Free full-time nursery places for all three year olds and extending the provision of 12 and a half hours to all two year olds in Wales. This would provide children with early educational input giving them the chance of the best start in life as well as helping parents to return to work or work longer hours to improve families' income levels.
• Measures to lift households out of fuel poverty. Plaid Cymru will create a Welsh energy company, Ynni Cymru, to use profit from Welsh resources to cut the cost of energy for thousands of families across Wales. Through NICW we will also embark on an unprecedented retrofitting scheme to make homes more energy efficient.
• Scrapping the bedroom tax which has resulted in little savings and has caused disruption and chaos.
Announcing the plan, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said:
"Every child in Wales should be given the chance to succeed, and access to good quality childcare is a crucial part of that.
"Plaid Cymru's child poverty action plan means providing free full-time nursery places for all three year olds and 12 hours per week of free childcare for two year olds. It also includes measures to end fuel poverty through reduced household bills and scrapping the bedroom tax.
"Despite consecutive years of Labour and Conservative rule, one in three children in Wales lives in poverty. That is not acceptable. Plaid Cymru wants to give every child every chance of success, but research tells us that children who are born into poverty are already at a disadvantage. That's why we need to break this cycle."
Plaid Cymru Rhondda candidate Branwen Cennard said: "Growing up in the Rhondda, I benefitted from full-time education from the age of three. I fully realise how important this was to me and my peers.
“Unfortunately, as we all know, Labour have taken this advantage away from children in RCT in recent years.
“Plaid Cymru’s proposals – which are Wales-wide – are about ensuring that our children get the possible start in school."
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