Welsh Families with Disabled Children Miss Out on Thousands in Benefits

November 21, 2007 12:00 AM

Today, during Welsh Question to Welsh Secretary Peter Hain MP, Jenny Willot MP accused the Government of leaving Welsh families with disabled children in poverty by failing to tackle chronically low levels of benefits take-up amongst Welsh households with disabled children.

A programme run by Mencap Cymru to boost benefits take-up by Welsh families with disabled children discovered that the average family was missing out on £2,000 to £5,000 every year in benefit entitlements, and in extreme cases, as much £20,000.

Commenting, Jenny said:

"Labour's failure to provide proper welfare and support for Welsh families with disabled children is leaving the majority of them living below the poverty line.

"Wales has a high proportion of families with disabled children so improving the welfare of these families is essential in the fight against child poverty and household poverty in Wales.

"Despite this, it appears that the Assembly Government is using up to £21m of money intended for Welsh disabled children for other things.

"Surveys show that 85% of parents with a disabled child want to work but are unable to find specialised childcare. So when Peter Hain talks of getting people off benefits, he must also look at providing parents of disabled children who want to work with appropriate and affordable childcare services.

"The Government must take major steps to simplify the benefits system and increase the take-up of benefits amongst Welsh families with disabled children. The Assembly Government must also ensure that it is playing its part in providing the additional support that families with disabled children need."

ENDS

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