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Fears growing over benefits change impact

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

Comments (11)

FEARS are growing about the impact the Government's impending welfare reforms will have on thousands of Neath and Port Talbot families.

Neath Port Talbot Council is working hard to get the message out, while NPT Homes experts have helped tenants claim an extra £1 million in benefits they were entitled to.

There was some good news last month when it was confirmed people who were receiving 100 per cent council tax benefit would continue to receive it.

They were supposed to have started making a contribution from April because of a central Government cut, before the Welsh Government came up with £22 million to make up the shortfall.

However, thousands of people will be hit by the wider benefits changes, including the bedroom tax which will affect some 2,000 NPT Homes tenants alone.

Deputy council leader Peter Rees said the impact would be on the poorest people in the county's communities.

"We have tried to warn people early on about the impact of this particular piece of legislation," he said.

Meanwhile, the NPT Homes team has helped tenants get £1 million in previously unclaimed benefits since it was formed in 2011.

So far in this financial year, team members have made 636 home visits and advised tenants at 250 surgery appointments. This has led to 155 successful claims, raising £700,000 in extra benefits.

Financial inclusion team leader Nerys Rees said: "With some of the biggest changes in the welfare system coming into force this year, some tenants could see housing benefit being cut by up to 25 per cent.

"This is a considerable amount for households on low incomes. These changes will impact on an estimated 2,000 NPT Homes tenants, many of these are vulnerable or disabled."

The so-called bedroom tax is the first major benefit change.

It will come into force in April, with Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment shortly after.

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  • lynmac1956  |  February 07 2013, 5:23PM

    Well Neathboy234 you speak a lot of sense and thank you for your comments. I worked full time until I contracted cancer and had heart attack so now I am one of those 'scroungers' that immigrant1 writes about. To be perfectly honest I am sick to the back teeth of misinformed idiots spouting nonsense about Welfare Reform and the 'under-occupancy' penalty - get up off your fat sanctimonious backsides and educate yourself a little. Really try to understand exactly what this government are doing as it has very very little to do with money. Once you have done your homework please come back and we can discuss this from an informed platform! I may be sick but I am far from stupid!

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  • Neathboy234  |  February 07 2013, 3:14PM

    As you say there are 500,000 jobs on offer here in the UK, problem is that we have over 7 million people economically inactive. Sadly for these people the jobs they could do are now in China, and will be for many many years. With falling wages in the west and wage growth in Chine we should meet somewhere in the middle during the 2030's, until then we're in a bit of a mess lol immigrant1 great to see that we agree on somethings. I am also a greatly in favor of the free moment of people within the EU, and beyond as well. I'm sure in the fullness of time we will live in a world where countries no longer exist, in the meantime we will just make do with the EU. You are of course correct about there being many vacancies, the problem lies is that they often exist in area's of the UK(London and the SE) where living costs are high. This is why these jobs are often taken by incomers, sleeping many to a room doesn't bother them. What is needed is more affordable housing in the SE of England, and until we get that we will continue with the problems that we currently have.

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  • immigrant1  |  February 07 2013, 3:02PM

    Neathboy234 - There are plenty of jobs. At the moment in the UK, there are at least 500,000 unfilled vacancies. There are also plenty of employers who will confirm that UK scroungers refuse to work. They prefer a life on benefits. I even know some of these myself. In the past when I was a recruitment manager, I interviewed many scroungers and they just refused to take any jobs offered. I believe in freedom of movement and think people should be allowed to live wherever the want. I don't think it's the job of governments to stop people moving around the world. Why should people be stuck in the country they were born? I've also employed many immigrants because they work hard and want the work. The UK equivalent are workshy and lazy.

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  • Neathboy234  |  February 07 2013, 12:10PM

    immigrant1 obviously you are unaware that there are almost 40 million men and women unemployed in the west. The jobs are simply not here, they have migrated to China, and will not migrate back until wages in developing Asia catch up with ours, some time in the 2030's i'd imagine. BTW are you an immigrant yourself, in favor or against immigration lol

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  • immigrant1  |  February 07 2013, 12:04PM

    The only people that will lose money are the scroungers, so we should all welcome this. If they have less money, maybe it will prompt them to get off their butts and get a job.

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  • immigrant1  |  February 07 2013, 12:01PM

    Jiffy - I suggest you get some treatment for your paranoia.

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  • Neathboy234  |  February 07 2013, 11:07AM

    Jiffy your dead right. We often hear the Tories making the comparison between strivers and scroungers. The problem is one day your striving away and the next you get made redundant and suddenly in the eyes of the rich from Eton school your a scrounger. Well 90% of us are potential scroungers in their eyes, anyone who doesn't have a million pound in the bank or a nice rich daddy to send you off to one of the better schools is worthless in the eyes of the Eton boys!

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  • Jiffy  |  February 07 2013, 10:54AM

    For several years I have kept hearing the same mantra "It doesn't matter who you vote for - they are all the same". Anyone daft enough to believe the current government is in the slightest like the previous Labour government doesn't deserve to have the right to vote. From Day 1, they've had it in for the low paid and those on benefits, then they moved to hit the lower middle classes. The only people not affected by this crew are the mega-rich, who continue to get away with paying little, if any tax - yet have the ear of the tories to ensure the poor know their place in society. By the time of the next election, the damage this lot have done will be practically irreversable. The NHS will have been sold off, more people will be on the streets and crime will have rocketed to such levels the police won't be able to control it. Our every move, both on the streets and in our homes,on computers, will be monitored. Any and all attempts to regain what our grandparents thought they'd fought for in 2 world wars will be gone and forgotten about. And no - I don't see Black Helicopters overhead every night.

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  • Neathboy234  |  February 07 2013, 10:21AM

    weslangdon sadly this lot have learnt nothing from the 1930's. All the cuts that have taken place so far have amounted to nothing, this year we are looking at borrowing an extra £7 billion than we did last year. Only by growing our economy will we get ourselves out of this mess, sadly we have a government which is bereft of idea's. Remember how back in 2010 the tories told us that every pound cut from government spending would be replaced by another pound coming from the private sector in the form of growth. According to their logic the bigger the cuts the more growth we would see, i guess that's what happens when we have a chancellor on work experience

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  • weslangdon  |  February 07 2013, 10:14AM

    The bedroom tax and the end of direct payments to landlords will cause more homelessness. We have a very twp Government that thinks it can cut its way out of a recession, history tell us the opposite is true that only public spending can get us out of it. Last time it took a world war, fortunately that's inconceivable but we face a never-ending slump if these stupid policies persist.

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