Demand for financial help from Welsh councils as a result of benefit changes has risen by up to 420%, according to information obtained by Plaid Cymru under the Freedom of Information Act.
And the number of applications approved for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) has more than doubled since last April when the bedroom tax was introduced.
A Freedom of Information survey of the 11 Welsh local authorities which retain direct responsibility for housing has revealed the massive demand for help as a result of benefits changes, including the bedroom tax.
Applications approved under the Discretionary Housing Payments scheme among the 11 amount to £8,292,000 in the first nine months of 2013-14 compared to £3,692,000 in the whole of 2012-13. Budgets have also almost tripled over the same period from £1,494,047 to £3,800,852. The Isle of Anglesey council said that its applications for DHA in 2013-14 had risen more than 420% from 173 pre-bedroom tax to 586 since.
Plaid Cymru’s Housing spokesperson Jocelyn Davies said: “This survey reveals the struggle many people are facing just to retain their home and put food on the table. Benefit changes by the Westminster Government have made many poor people even poorer and that is a disgrace.
“But what is the Welsh Government doing to ease the pain of those at the bottom – very little? They told electors in 2011 that they would stand up for Wales against the UK Coalition Government – but they have failed miserably.
“Why are they so reluctant to follow the lead of the Scottish Labour Party and SNP who are working together on a way to scrap the bedroom tax in Scotland. If they can work together in Scotland why is the Labour Welsh Government sitting on its hands and doing nothing?”