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?”
Thousands of families across Wales will be hit by changes to Child Benefits that are set to take effect in jut twenty months. From January 2013 Child benefit will be withdrawn from families with a higher rate taxpayer.
Peter Hain MP for Neath and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales has described the changes as “unfair” as a loophole will see families of two earners with a combined income of £80,000 receive the benefit but a single earner family on £44,000 lose it.
Official figures from the House of Commons Library say that approximately 37,500 families in Wales will be affected by the changes with an average loss per affected household in Wales of £1,623 per annum, though the actual figure will depend on the number of eligible children in the Household. The clawback would deliver savings of around £61 million in 2013-14, £62 million in 2014-15, and £63 million in 2015-16.
Peter Hain said, “This is another ideological Tory cut attacking families. The callous way they have chosen to introduce the changes will see a lone parent or single earner couples earning just above the higher rate threshold, currently £43,875, lose their child benefit, while dual earner couples both earning just under the threshold would continue to receive it.
“This is a shameful attack on hard working families in Wales, who are being forced to bear the brunt of the government cuts.”
Single parents over the threshold will be particularly badly affected as they would have to pay for childcare out of their reduced income, whilst those who have a parent at home would not have this problem.
There are 9,195 families in Neath in receipt of Child Benefits.
The Tory-Lib Dem cuts are disproportionally affecting women In Neath and surrounding Valleys as they are asked to bear more than seventy percent of the cuts. Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and Neath MP has called the figures “damaging for the progress of the next generation of women.”
Independent research shows men on average will lose £4.20 a week, but women on average will lose £8.80 a week – despite the fact that women still earn less than men. Cuts to child tax credit, childcare tax credit, child benefit all hit mothers hardest. This combined with lower public sector, Carers Allowance payments, cuts to housing benefit and the rise in VAT, this Tory Government propped up by the Lib Dems is just throwing more hurdles in the way of women.
“Women play a vital role in the workplace and at home.” Said Mr Hain “Women have already achieved so much, there is still so much to do but this unfair attack will, I fear, not only halt the progress already made but set it back years. It is likely that their life chances and independence will suffer because of this government’s assault on women and families.”