800% increase in those needing emergency payments

  • Welsh government figures show a huge increase in the number of people needing emergency housing payments following the welfare changes.

    Poverty Minister says it is highlighting a crisis for Wales as an effect from the introduction of welfare changes such as the bedroom tax.

     Following the welfare changes, Wales have seen an increase in the need for emergency housing payments rise by up to 800% in some areas.

    Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are one off top-up payments for people who are struggling to pay their rent, and are requested by people on housing benefits in an emergency.

    Councils have seen a huge rise in applications, and is likely to run out of the funds that are set aside to give out these payments.

    The Welsh government figures show that DHPs have increased by 804% in Anglesey, 371% in Wrexham, 316% in Conwy and 266% in Newport.

    An estimated figure shows that nearly a third of householders were facing problems, and housing leaders warned the vast increase in applications are only "staving off the inevitable".

    Welsh Poverty minister Huw Lewis will be talking to Lord Freud, the welfare reform minister today regarding the problem.

    Mr Lewis said he had "deep concerns" about the impact of welfare reform including the introduction of the bedroom tax:

    The ‘bedroom tax' alone will see 40,000 families worse off and councils are telling us more people than ever before are applying for emergency help to pay the rent.

    By some estimates the wider welfare changes will take £1 billion out of the Welsh economy and it is the most vulnerable in our society who will feel the squeeze.

    Mr Lewis, who is responsible for tackling poverty in Wales, had said in April at the introduction of the reforms, that they would prove “historically catastrophic”, and predicted they would will push families in some communities into “near destitution”.

     

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