Rhodri recognised at Wales Politician of the Year Awards
12:02pm Monday 16th December 2013 in News
CARMARTHEN East and Dinefwr Assembly Member Rhodri Glyn Thomas has picked up the Campaigner of the Year Award at this year’s Wales Politician of the Year Awards ceremony which took place in Cardiff’s City Hall last week.
The event, which aired on ITV Wales on Thursday, awarded Rhodri for his nine-month campaign to protect 330,000 Welsh households from cuts to Council Tax Benefit.
Responsibility for council tax benefit was being devolved from the Westminster to the Welsh government but with a 10 per cent cut in the budget. This left a £22million black hole which Rhodri Glyn forced the Welsh government to fill.
In March 2012, the Welsh government stated it could not plug the gap and was prepared to pass on the £22million to local councils already struggling to make ends meet. If this had happened, over 19,000 Carmarthenshire households would have been forced to pick up the bill of Westminster cuts.
Rhodri’s nine-month campaign and the Welsh government’s mismanagement of the process resulted in the National Assembly being re-called during the Christmas 2012 recess to pass legislation. This was a first in the Assembly’s thirteen year history.
In January this year the Welsh government bowed to Rhodri’s pressure and covered the £22million black hole, saving 330,000 of Wales’s most vulnerable households from paying more council tax.
Speaking after the awards ceremony, local Assembly Member Rhodri Glyn Thomas said:
“I’m very grateful for this award as it recognises the hard work which went into the campaign to protect 19,000 Carmarthenshire households and 330,000 households throughout Wales from Westminster cuts.
“We knew all along that it was a very important campaign which would have directly impacted some of the most vulnerable households in Wales. That is why I was so determined to stick at the campaign and not take no for an answer.
“It was an historic campaign in that it lead to Assembly Members being recalled for the first time in the institution’s history.
“When accepting my award I paid tribute to my team of staff who assisted with this campaign by reaching facts, preparing statements and helping me put this issue on the Welsh political agenda. I’m very grateful for their work.
“One year on, the Welsh government has now committed to finding a long-term, sustainable way in which council tax benefit can be managed in the future so that we’re never in the same position again. This is very welcome news.”