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Tory AM criticises Labour Swansea, Neath Port Talbot councils over 'bedroom tax' payments

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 12, 2014

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SWANSEA Council has disputed a claim by a Tory AM that it is not doing enough to help people affected by the controversial "bedroom tax".

Suzy Davies said she wondered why Swansea and Neath Port Talbot's Labour-run councils had not applied for funding to help residents affected by the spare room subsidy — dubbed the bedroom tax — given the party's "bitter attacks" on the Coalition Government's policy.

South Wales West AM Mrs Davies said neither authority had applied for a share of £20 million made available to councils last July.

"Labour politicians are the first to be critical, in very extreme terms, about the effects of the spare bedroom subsidy," she said.

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"However, this revelation (that only three Welsh councils had applied for a share of the £20 million) by the Work and Pensions Minister Steve Webb suggests that Labour councils are not exactly exercising themselves to do what they can for those they maintain are in dire straits."

Swansea Council said it had used money from a first round of funding, but did not feel at this stage there was further demand for the extra £20 million.

A spokesman said: "We have been working with tenants and landlords to alert them to the potential impact of the so-called bedroom tax and have supported them by raising awareness of the availability of discretionary housing payments.

"As a result we have received and spent more than £570,000 funding over the last year, and made 1,871 payment awards."

He added the council was committed to supporting those who needed it and were eligible in the coming year.

And a Neath Port Talbot Council spokesman said it provided 1,214 discretionary housing payments during 2013-14.

He added: "While the UK Government announced an additional £20 million available for the whole of the UK there were strict bidding conditions attached to this money and there was no guarantee when they were going to announce the outcome of the bid, which actually took place late in 2013.

"There was also concern that the amount of money made available for 2014-15 would be less than for 2013-14 and reduce the number of people supported."

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5 comments

  • paul0453  |  May 13 2014, 7:51AM

    Typical evil Tory.

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  • Swivaldo  |  May 12 2014, 9:41PM

    It's not a tax!

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  • Kaiser_Macsen  |  May 12 2014, 8:48PM

    660,000 households in the UK are adversely affected by the imposition of the bedroom tax and are penalised by £14 to £22 a week. 2/3rds of those affected in England have fallen into arrears. Scotland says it needs an extra £15million to counteract this injustice. We've got IDS saying that he could live on £53 a week. Bankers awarding massive bonuses to themselves despite the fact that we are supposed to be in a time of austerity and what do we get from a Welsh Tory AM? We get misinformation about money being available but not claimed. If anyone thinks that the £20million didn't come with tight controls on what it could be used for, you don't understand the malicious nature of Cameron's Tories. "Let them eat magic" says the new Marie Antoinette.

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  • Alltalk  |  May 12 2014, 7:43PM

    Just because Labour controlled councils disapprove of the scheme doesn't give them the right to penalise people in need. Discretionary housing payments are a joke and money is going to waste. They would be quick enough off the mark if it was money for Uplands Market.

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  • antyall  |  May 12 2014, 7:29PM

    If it was not for the policies of IDS in the first place, the council would not need to do much, If it was not for the policies of the last conservis right to buy, we would not have such a big housing shortage, if it was not for the fact than councils were not aloud to build new homes from the ones sold. we would not have such a large housing crisis in social or council housing. Maybe Suzy needs to look at where the problem originated and not criticize counsells suffering a shortage of monies

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