Communities and Children Secretary Carl Sargeant today took to the streets of Cardiff to get a taste of life as a Big Issue seller.
The Cabinet Secretary spent an hour selling The Big Issue outside Costa on Queen Street, while Bethan Jenkins AM, who invited him to take part in a selling challenge, sold the magazine outside Burger King.
Vendors buy The Big Issue magazine for £1.25 and sell it for £2.50, making each seller a ‘micro-entrepreneur’ who is working, not begging. Since 1991, the magazine has helped over 92,000 vendors earn £115 million. There are currently around 1500 vendors across the UK, who earned a total of £5.5 million last year. Currently, the magazine is read by an estimated 379,195 people across the UK and circulates 82,294 copies every week.
In the Welsh Government draft budget, published last week, a further £20m was announced to help tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the next two financial years. This follows the recent announcement of an additional £2.6m to tackle the issue during this financial year.
Mr Sargeant said:
"Selling The Big Issue has been a very interesting and valuable experience. It has given me an insight into some of the challenges the vendors face as well as the kindness of the public. The magazine has offered vendors the opportunity and support to change their lives and get off the streets.
"Homelessness can have a devastating effect on people’s lives. Tackling it is a priority for this government, which is why we have announced a further £20m to tackle the issue over the next two years and why we have protected the budget for Supporting People which plays a very important role in preventing homelessness and helping rough sleepers off the streets."