TWO Denbighshire Assembly Members have condemned the UK Government after a rise in the number of people claiming housing benefits in Denbighshire was revealed.
Labour AMs Ken Skates and Ann Jones hit out at the Westminster coalition after the ‘damning’ figures showed an 11% increase in the number of people being forced to rely on state help – the biggest rise anywhere in Wales.
The statistics, which show the increase in claimants from May 2010 to November 2013, also reveal a 60% increase in the number of working people in Denbighshire needing Government support, the second-highest in North Wales behind Wrexham.
Clwyd South AM Mr Skates said: “Since the Tories came into power, the total number of claimants in Denbighshire has gone up from 7,444 to 8,227 – a rise of 11%, which is the biggest in the whole of Wales. The number of working adults requiring state help has also rocketed from 778 to 1,248 – a huge increase of 60%.
“Altogether, across North Wales, more than 7,000 working people are having to claim housing benefit to make ends meet. These figures, caused by the Conservatives’ crippling austerity programme, are frankly disgusting and are a damning reiteration of the fact the Tories’ policies are hurting people here badly.
“The reality is that people are hundreds of pounds a year worse off under this UK Government, and the cost of living crisis they have created cannot be denied when people working hard to provide for their families need help to put a roof over their heads.”
Vale of Clwyd AM, Ms Jones said: “The ideologically driven and spiteful Tory welfare reform agenda has not made an iota of positive impact or indeed made the system fairer. The spiralling housing benefit bill for Denbighshire alone shows that the Tories are doing nothing to tackle the cost of living crisis that so many hard-working families are facing.
“People in Denbighshire are £522 worse off under the UK coalition Government and their tough their pernicious, spiteful policies are punishing those who can least afford it while millionaire mates of Cameron and co get huge tax breaks.”
The Secretary of State for Wales and Clwyd West MP, David Jones, said that welfare reforms were working for Wales.
"This Government’s welfare reforms are working for Wales and for the people of Denbighshire.
Since the election there are 39,000 fewer people claiming out of work benefits in Wales and 940 fewer people claiming out of work benefits in Denbighshire.
Our reforms are encouraging more people into work and we are seeing this with an additional 64,000 people in work in Wales since May 2010.
“What we are achieving is that more people have the security of work, are paying taxes and contributing to their rents, rather than being stuck on out-of-work benefits. This Government is helping people move into work and up the ladder.” said Mr Jones.