Westminster parties letting down Wales' most vulnerable
Plaid Cymru's Hywel Williams MP has responded to the Audit Office report on the impact of welfare reform by criticising the Westminster parties for adopting punitive measures which have seen Wales suffer disproportionately as a result.
Mr Williams made the case for an end to austerity and for investing for growth, citing Plaid Cymru proposals to generate jobs in order to boost the economy and bring down the welfare bill.
Responding to the report, Mr Williams said:
“Plaid Cymru has been consistently opposed to Westminster’s punitive welfare reforms such as the Bedroom Tax which have hit Wales hardest.
"These are reforms put forward by the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition and all-too-often passed through parliament due to Labour sitting on their hands during crucial votes or even worse, as in the case of the welfare cap, voting in favour.
"This Audit office report confirms that there has been no gain from all the pain. Far from saving money, these cuts to welfare have caused Welsh councils to have to spend money dealing with the consequences of an ill thought through policy.
"The vast majority of councils and housing associations have had to waste resources dealing with the impact of the bedroom tax, resources that could have spend on frontline services.
"Almost three quarters have also reported an increase in empty homes that they can’t let because of these changes. These empty homes represent a blight on communities and a further waste of resources.
“The Audit Office report reinforces Plaid Cymru’s view that the way to reduce the welfare bill is not by punishing the poor, but by investing in jobs and skills.
"Westminster’s ideological attempt to dismantle social protections have ended up costing our cash strapped councils money and left us no better off. With Labour and the Tories both signed up to continued austerity, only Plaid Cymru is willing to stand up for Wales' most vulnerable people.
"Plaid Cymru’s Plan C would create an additional 50,000 jobs, and would represent a far better way to reduce the benefits bill, boost the economy and free up resources to invest in public services.”