Neath MP Peter Hain has today launched a scathing attack on the Lib Dem-Tory Government after embarrassing revelations for Ministers regarding the maligned Bedroom Tax.
The former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said: “quite frankly it reminds me of the omnishambles budget from 2012, both parts of the government are so out of touch of the realities on the ground, especially in places like Neath it is bordering on negligence.”
Mr Hain was commenting on yesterday’s news that the Liberal Democrats have reversed their support for the Spare Room Subsidy, commonly referred to as the Bed Room tax.
He said: “This is a shocking and mercenary decision which is motivated purely by political calculation. I am glad that they are doing the right thing and seeing the sense in what Labour has been saying for months, but they are not fooling anybody in Neath.”
On Tuesday the Department for Work and Pensions published an independent report by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research and Ipsos Mori which clearly documented the devastating effect the changes to the Spare Room Subsidy had on welfare claimants.
At one point it stated: “Tenants’ groups interviewed expressed concern about the welfare of people who were paying for the shortfall, reporting that some were going without food, not heating their homes, and becoming socially isolated.”
Mr Hain continued, “I read the report and was in a state of disbelief at times, the way this one change has affected people is terrible, 45% of those who have been impacted on by the Bedroom Tax had lived in their houses for over a decade, 68% that at least one individual in the house was disabled.”
“The entire episode has been wholly regrettable, this U-Turn by the Lib Dems is rubbing salt in the wounds of people who have been forced to choose between heating or eating by the callous coalition.”
“On top of this yesterday we saw the Prime Minister being bullish about the economy during Prime Minister’s Questions, but the truth is in places like Neath people are not feeling the benefits of the recovery.”
“Since 2010 people in Neath Port Talbot have seen their wages plummet from £489 per week, to £425 per week and now they still have not reached their 2010 levels. Never mind that our wages drag behind the rest of the UK.”
“All the while people have seen their real wages slowly eroded by rising inflation, this are some of the forces my constituents are contending with on a daily basis as they fight for their living standards.”