Welsh Government says UK welfare reform plans 'devastating for Wales'

THE Welsh Government has attacked the welfare reforms proposed by the UK Government, calling them "devastating for Wales."

A series of reports published today, commissioned by the Assembly, warn of the potential social as well as economic impacts of the reforms on people in Wales.

In particular they highlight concerns that benefits will now be set in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measurement of inflation, rather than the Retail Price Index (RPI), which the report says will leave Welsh benefit claimants worse off.

It also raises concerns about cuts to Disability Living Allowance, which the report says will see around 42,500 claimants lose their allowance by May 2018, the equivalent of around £55-83 per week on average, amongst a package of estimated smaller cuts to a range of benefits including child benefit and housing benefits.

The report accepts that the incoming Universal Credit, a catch-all benefit aimed to make the benefit system less complicated by consolidating a range of benefits, but also aimed to encourage more people back in to work, will likely increase household incomes in Wales by 2014-15.

However the report suggests this will be offset by the income losses from other welfare reforms.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman, said: "We're reforming the benefits system so that it better supports the people that need it, and remains sustainable in the longer term. These reforms will make millions of people better off, will incentivise work, and will end the benefits trap.

"The UK will continue to be a world-leader in the rights for disabled people and we continue to spend around £50bn a year on disabled people and their services."

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