MP Peter Hain has attacked the Government for “endangering local communities” with “reckless” policies. Since May last year there have been cuts to cuts to tax credits, Winter Fuel, disability living allowance compounded by an increase in the VAT rate.
There are also concerns over the next generation of youngsters as university tuition fees have trebled and plans you get youngsters back into work have been scrapped. The Future Jobs Fund which provided youngsters with the skills find employment and created ninety-six more jobs in Neath Port Talbot was scrapped as part of the Governments efficiency savings.
Mr Hain said, “David Cameron is making life harder for ordinary people with reckless and dangerous cuts squeezing the living standards of hard working families.
“The future for youngsters is worrying, we were told the £9000 annual fee was only to be applied in ‘exceptional circumstances’ but has now become the norm. Whilst the scrapping of the Future Jobs Fund which was helping to reduce the numbers of youth unemployed, without it youth unemployment is stagnating
“The Tories are making reckless choices but it’s our communities that are paying the price and it’s too high a price.”
Welfare changes will see thousands moved off incapacity benefits with few job opportunities for them, research claims. Peter Hain MP has raised concerns over the impact it will have on Neath constituents on incapacity benefits claiming it would lead to ‘hard times with few employment opportunities’.
The report “Tackling Worklessness In Wales” by Professor Steve Fothergill and Christina Beatty suggests changes to the welfare system will see 60,000 people in Wales moved off incapacity benefits with half of those with no job to go to.
Neath Port Talbot has the third highest rate of Working Age Benefit Claimants in Wales with 21.9% of the working age population in the authority claiming benefits. Only Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent have a higher rate in Wales. In the Neath constituency there are over six thousand claiming incapacity benefits with over five thousand one hundred of those claiming for over a year.
Mr Hain said, “This is a very worrying report highlighting the problems of getting people back into work. Last month’s figures showed there were eleven people chasing every vacancy in Neath – that is the reality facing the unemployed. Getting people off benefits is one thing but if there are no jobs for them to go into then they are facing a very unsure financial future.”
The report suggests that in Wales changes to the Welfare system would result in “widespread financial hardship rather than a reduction in worklessness” and the private sector “has a mountain to climb to deliver new jobs on the scale that is needed.”
Neath MP Peter Hain has hit out at Tory Secretary of State Cheryl Gillan over the massive cuts planned to benefits of those with disabilities in Wales affecting thousands in his own constituency. Mr Hain also revealed the numbers of DLA claimants of working age and the level of cuts for each of the 40 Parliamentary constituencies in Wales.
Figures obtained by Labour revealed the numbers of DLA claimants of working age in Neath stands at 4,250 with the average amount claimed amounting to £69.79 per week. A 20% reduction would see the average amount would fall by £13.96 to just £55.83 per week leaving recipients on average £727.77 a year worse off. A total of £3,093,023 per year cut in DLA for Neath.
During a heated Welsh Questions exchange in the Commons chamber, Mr Hain challenged Ms Gillan to tell the House what loss of income her Government’s swinging DLA cuts of 20% might mean for the average claimant in Wales and how many would be effect.
When Ms Gillan failed to answer, Mr Hain told the House:
“Calculations backed by figures from the House of Commons Library suggest the average reduction would be £14 per week for 125,000 Disability Allowance claimants in Wales, a total cut of £90 million pounds per year, or over £700 each.
“Has she any idea how much suffering this will cause, with VAT, food, fuel and petrol prices sky high? The truth is that under this Government rich bankers are coining it whilst the most vulnerable and needy are punished. When will she stand up for people with disabilities in Wales?”
Local MP Peter Hain met with campaigners from Age UK Cymru who were lobbying Parliament to highlight proposals in the Pension Bill that will result in unacceptable delays to Women’s pensions.
Following the meeting Mr Hain said “The goal posts keep being moved for these women many of whom have planned for a comfortable not lavish retirement but are now facing a massive upheaval without enough time to prepare as the Government tries to rush through yet another ill-considered reform. It’s causing these women worry and tension at a time when they should be looking forward to their retirement.”
Recently release figures showed that one thousand women in the Neath constituency would face a delay in accessing their state pension as the Government attempts to speed up the equalisation of state pension age.
Hundreds of thousands of women across the UK born between 1953 and 1954 will be dramatically affected by changes to the state pension age which could see them have to wait an extra two years before they can receive it. Government plans to accelerate the equalisation of state pension age will affect a thousand women in the Neath constituency, figures from the House of Commons Library suggest.
Neath MP Peter Hain has called the proposals a “travesty” as women who have worked hard all their lives and planned for retirement in the next few years are forced to adapt their plans with insufficient time to prepare.
Mr Hain said, “These plans are unfair and target women who are coming to the end of their working lives. They have planned for retirement and now those plans are dramatically affected as they face a longer wait to access their state pension, leaving them feeling they have been robbed.”
Across the UK 300,000 women born between 6 December 1953 and 5 October 1954, will have to wait an extra 18 months, and an unlucky 33,000 born between 6 March 1954 and 5 April 1954 will have to wait an extra 2 years, before being entitled to their state pension.