Welsh Government denies vulnerable claimants millions - Willott

February 26, 2014 1:39 PM

Speaking3

Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has reacted with outrage to news that the Welsh Government has not allocated £2.5m of a £12m fund to the vulnerable benefit claimants it was intended to help.

The UK Government set up a network of Discretionary Assistance Funds to replace the Social Fund, which offered emergency payments to people needing urgent assistance. In Wales the fund is administered by the Welsh Government. Last April it was given £12.4m by Westminster to help in cases where people need urgent assistance and where there is an identified need to safeguard health and well being.

It has now emerged that £568,000 of this money has not been distributed and £2m has been spent paying a private company to run the scheme.

Commenting, Jenny Willott said:

"For months the Welsh Government has been falling back on their standard excuse that all the difficulties people are facing in Wales are the fault of the Coalition Government at Westminster. The news that they have both wasted one sixth of a fund especially created to support the most vulnerable people in our society on outsourcing and then failed to allocate a further half a million pounds just goes to show how hollow this excuse is.

"It is certainly true that these are difficult times across the entire country, but in the first place, the essential role of any Government is to make tough decisions on how to use scarce resources - the Welsh Government need to step up and start taking responsibility for their spending decisions. Secondly, in this case the UK Government has actually handed the Welsh Government money on a plate for a specific purpose. I can't believe the Welsh Government are wasting time slagging off the UK Government rather than doing their job and providing help to people who need it here in Wales."

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