Government U-turn on Council Tax Benefit welcomed
11:00am Wednesday 23rd January 2013 in News
Ceredigion’s Elin Jones AM has welcomed news that the Welsh Government will continue funding the Council Tax Benefit at its present levels.
From April 2013, the Westminster Government will devolve responsibility for administering the benefit to the Welsh Government, but at the same time will reduce the amount of funding provided for the scheme by 10 per cent.
Ever since this situation was revealed last year, Plaid Cymru has been calling on the Welsh Government to finance the shortfall in funding, to protect local pensioners and other claimants from these benefit cuts. According to the Department for Work and Pensions, there were 6,060 household in Ceredigion in receipt of this benefit in August 2012.
Last Thursday (17 January 2013), the Welsh Government announced that it had bowed to pressure and will now be funding the shortfall.
Plaid Cymru’s Elin Jones AM said:
“This U-turn by the Welsh Government is a very welcome development, and follows months of campaigning by Plaid Cymru to ensure that those currently in receipt of Council Tax Benefit aren’t forced to fund the shortfall themselves.
“The SNP government in Scotland planned to take action on this very matter as soon as the funding cut was revealed by the Westminster Treasury, and it’s a shame that the Welsh Government didn’t take similar action at the very beginning.
“Of course, we would not be in this position if the Westminster Government wasn’t insisting on reducing the amount of funding provided for the Council Tax Benefit scheme by 10 per cent. Our public services have already been bearing the brunt of the public spending cuts and the focus has now shifted to social security payments. Unfortunately, I fear that the situation only will get worse over the coming months”.