Jane Hutt accuses UK government of ‘disrespect’ for Wales
The British government has shown a “lack of respect” for the Welsh government, according to a Welsh minister.
Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt said she had written to two different UK government ministers asking for help in dealing with the cost of living crisis, but neither had responded .
Speaking at the weekly press conference on Tuesday February 1, she said she had written to Kwasi Kwarteng, Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Relations, and Pensions Minister Theresa Coffey.
The letter to Mr Kwarteng was sent on January 11 jointly between Ms Hutt and climate change minister Julie James.
They said they were “deeply concerned” about the impact of rising costs on Welsh households.
“We are particularly concerned about low-income households who were at risk of suffering from energy poverty or who were already living there before the increase which took effect in October.”
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He called for “serious consideration” to be given to the introduction of a “differentiated household energy tariff cap or a targeted social energy tariff to better support low-income households”.
The Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, also received the letter.
The letter dated January 14 was sent to Ms. Coffey. He asked her to raise benefit rates above the planned 3.1%.
The letter said: “A report by the Institute for Financial Studies published on January 12 noted” that in April, social benefits, including jobseeker’s allowance and invalidity benefits, are expected to increase of 3.1% – in line with the inflation rate recorded last September.” However, we do know that the cost of living has risen since then and that the consumer price inflation measure is expected to reach 6% by spring, thanks in large part to soaring energy bills.
“I therefore call on you to increase social benefit payments by 6% in April. The Institute for Financial Studies calculates that this would cost an additional £3bn, but it would save our lowest income households from facing to £290 in real terms year-on-year. year-on-year decline in benefit income, helping to slightly alleviate the crisis cost of living they face.”
At the weekly press conference, she repeatedly said the UK government needed to step in to “make a real difference ‘in terms of energy prices’.”
“What are they doing now? They are not responding to our call to reduce the tariff. Not only did we write to the Secretary of State for Trade, Energy and Industrial Relations, but I wrote to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. say that she has to cut the lift to benefit from the prices from April.
“With inflation at the current level they will only be increased by 3.1%, inflation may be up to 6%, I asked him to increase it to 6%, no response. No response from either the other secretary of state. We ask them to recognize that this is a cost of living crisis, it should be at the forefront of their agenda.
She announced today that people in Wales can apply for a one-time payment of £200 to settle their bills, saying up to 350,000 people would be eligible for the new double payment.
“I’m very encouraged by the adoption so far, I think we’ve had 40% adoption, 106,000 payments already made and we’re extending that through the end of February,” she said.
The plan is open to:
The DWP and BEIS have been contacted for comment and both have responded saying the letter will receive a response “in due course”.
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