Council tax benefit cuts to affect 20,000 in Caerphilly County Borough, according to Plaid AM Whittle
More than 20,000 of Caerphilly County Borough’s poorest households could miss out on council tax benefit once it is devolved to the Welsh Government, according to Plaid Cymru AM Lindsay Whittle.
Mr Whittle has said that the Labour Welsh Government will not fill a shortfall when council tax benefit is devolved with a 10% cut.
The South Wales East Assembly Member said: “Council tax benefit is being devolved to the Welsh Government in April 2013 but with a 10% cut in funding.
“But the Welsh Government will not make up the difference which means that tens of thousands of the poorest people in Gwent will be worse off. And only last year Labour promised to protect people from the Tory-Lib Dem government in Westminster. Well, they are failing them.
“In Scotland the SNP government is working with local authorities to look at ways of making up this deficit. The failure to do this in Wales means that £23.4m could be taken from people, many of whom are pensioners.
“The Welsh Government will receive £80m in Barnett consequential money next year, and Plaid suggested that Labour could use some of this to pay for the deficit for one year, until a restructure is looked at in detail. Labour said it cannot afford to. It is choosing not to prioritise the poor.”
In a recent written statement on the issue, the Minister for Local Government and Communities Carl Sargeant, said: “I am aware that the Scottish Government and local authorities in Scotland have agreed to jointly make up their funding shortfall there. The challenging budget from the UK Government means that we are not in a position to make a similar arrangement in Wales. Doing so would equate to funding almost 650 fewer primary school teachers or more than 600 fewer nurses.
“However my Cabinet colleagues and I are completely committed to ensuring that Wales receives a fair funding transfer from the UK Government. As well as funding the cost of the support itself, this means receiving fair and accurate administrative funding and adequate cover for the new burdens that introducing this scheme will place on the Welsh Government and local authorities in Wales. To this end, I will shortly be meeting Iain Duncan-Smith and Lord Freud.”Follow @CaerphillyObsvr