Need to protect the most vulnerable Gwynedd residents through devolving power


Councillor Craig ab Iago, Llanllyfni will call for Gwynedd Councillors’ support to protect the most vulnerable Gwynedd residents by devolving the welfare system to Wales this week.

"There is real concern this Christmas for individuals and families that are moving to the Universal Credit system for support with low wages, unemployment, illness, health disorders, childcare and housing rent," said Gwynedd Councillor Craig ab Iago.

"As the Universal Credit is being extended to more areas in Wales, the delay taken for switching to the new system means that people are not receiving payments for six weeks, with some as long as ten weeks. That is, at best unacceptable, but during the Christmas period where spending rates are higher, it is harsh.”

Next year, Gwynedd residents will change from the current housing benefit, child and working tax credit, income support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, employment and support allowance to the new single system of Universal Credit.

“We are already hearing from other areas that people are going into debt with their rent, are forced to rely on food banks and are makign themselves ill with worry about suporting themselves and their families. The ultimate impact sees an increased risk of people losing their homes, becoming homeless and affecting people’s health.

“I’m calling on Gwynedd Councillors to support this motion that is put in front of full Council (Thursday 14 December) to devolve the administration of the welfare system in Wales, as has already occurred in Scotland.

Deputy Leader of Gwynedd Council Mair Rowlands said: “By devolving the administration to Wales, flexibility can be given to mitigate the effects of the new credit system on individuals and families who are in real need. The last thing we want to see is Gwynedd residents suffering or worrying about feeding and clothing themselves, risking losing their homes or suffering more stress and ill health due to this new support system that arrives in Gwynedd in April 2018.”

“Putting more pressure on local services, the health service, housing service and third sector services is not an option during this period of financial austerity. These services are already under strain and with more financial cuts to come, the prospects do not look good. That is the reason Plaid Cymru Team in Gwynedd, Cardiff and Westminster, is working together to put pressure on Tory politicians to make this change,” explains Councillor Mair Rowlands.

“Now is the time for us to take action and call on the Labour Government in Cardiff to press the Tory Government in Westminster to devolve the administration of the welfare system to Wales. In the long term, this system should be implemented and co-ordinated her ein Wales,” said Councillor Craig ab Iago.