Pastor Gareth writes:

The Catholic Church is not party political, but it does embrace certain values which align more closely with some parties than others. CitizensUK mobilises ordinary citizens to make their voice heard and most of the issues listed below align strongly with Catholic values: care for our natural environment, offering a welcome to refugees and other migrants, fair pay for work done and overcoming all forms of racism. When it comes to democracy and devolution, the Catholic position is that power should be devolved to the lowest appropriate level, but the Church makes no judgment on what “appropriate” means for particular powers in the balance between Westminster, the Senedd and local councils.

Here are some of Citizen Cymru Wales latest actions:

– Living hours/living wage action team

The Living Wage campaign is one of Citizens UK’s most successful and long standing campaigns and has led to over 12,500 accreditations, nearly half a million pay rises and put £2 billion back into the pockets of low paid workers. And it has never been more relevant. We are living amidst the worst cost of living crisis for decades, and rebuilding the economy / economic growth will be a key focus for the upcoming election. Currently working on asks around building the real Living Wage into all Government procurement/commissioning and enabling public bodies to become accredited Living Wage Employers.

– Migrant Justice action team

Even as hostility and dehumanisation of migrants and refugees increases, Citizens UK has shown that together we can push back and win change so that people can find sanctuary and put down roots in the UK. The issue we’re tackling is twofold: a system that often leaves millions of people who have committed their lives to the UK on a long, expensive, and unfair pathway to Citizenship, and also makes it impossible for refugees to find safe routes to sanctuary in the UK.

– Mental Health Action Team

One in four for 17- to 19-year-olds face mental health difficulties. Many of them experience difficulties which could be addressed through short-term interventions such as school- and college-based counselling. We want to ensure that the next Government adopts a preventive approach to alleviate some of the pressures the NHS is under. We want to make sure that children and young people receive the specialist support they deserve, rather than expect already-overwhelmed teachers and support staff to deal with issues they are not qualified to address.

– Housing and Homelessness Action Team

Housing that is affordable, secure and of good quality is a basic human right that should be attainable without jeopardising the planet. Our Action Team includes London, Birmingham, Wales, Greater Manchester and Somerset, and we are exploring solutions including a time limit on temporary accommodation, a genuine target for building social housing, targets for local authority repairs & retrofits, and a regulation standard for the private rental sector.

– Democracy & Devolution Action Team

The core Citizens UK vision is of a vibrant and inclusive democracy. A growing team of experienced leaders from 6 Chapters are developing proposals for more devolution to push powers closer to citizens, ‘votes at 16’ to expand our democracy and an increase to levelling up funding. The team are working on how to embed this into the strategies of Chapters and have an exciting policy & influencing opportunity with UCL Policy Lab. 

– Climate Justice Action Team

Climate Justice is demonstrating there are green solutions that decrease carbon emissions and tackle people’s daily cost of living struggles. This campaign has been developing through listening and local action in West London, Tyne & Wear, Somerset, TELCO, South London, Manchester, Thames Valley, Brighton and Leeds. We’re developing election asks in two areas:  1) Affordable, green public transport, 2) Council housing upgrades and repair (retrofit). 

– Racial Justice in education Action Team

Our listening tells us institutional racism in the education sector is damaging life chances for young people. This campaign has had substantial local success in Tyne & Wear and Nottingham, and is being taken up in other Chapters including Peterborough, Somerset and West London. There’s a lot of energy building and the team is working on what a good General Election specific campaign might be.

As well as action teams, there will be a launch on Wednesday 20th September from 8:30am to 10am:

Join Citizens Cymru Wales at the statue of esteemed Welsh politician Aneurin Bevan in Cardiff as we launch the Citizens UK General Election Issues Manifesto – an overview of the issues our membership has agreed are the most important for the General Election 2024. 

We’ll hear stories from leaders about the priorities for Wales on these campaigns, before heading to a nearby coffee shop for coffees, teas and pastries, where we will spend some time as a chapter to develop local plans for MP engagement and campaigning. Welsh MPs who represent our alliances’ communities will be invited to attend.

Registration is essential – click here to RSVP

If you are wanting to find out more, or join an action team, visit: https://www.citizensuk.org/chapters/cymru-wales/