Monmouth MP David Davies suggests Blaenavon man 'goes to London' to find work
4:44pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in News
Monmouth MP David Davies talks to Blaenavon couple, teenager Amy Evans and her partner Lloyd Mulry for the BBC programme Week in Week Out
A MONMOUTHSHIRE MP suggested a man should "go to London" to look for work if he couldn't find a job in the town.
David Davies MP visited the World Heritage town as part of tonight's BBC Wales programme "Week In Week Out" looking at the effect of the UK Government's so-called bedroom tax, which encourages people on housing benefit with spare bedrooms to downsize, or face a cut in their benefit.
The programme went behind the scenes with Bron Afon Housing Association, which has 509 properties in Blaenavon but only 23 one-bedroom flats.
The MP, who heads a committee of MPs investigating the effect of the bedroom tax in Wales, claimed the benefit reforms were not working as well here as other parts of the UK, and blamed a shortage of smaller properties for people on benefits to move in to.
The changes to housing benefit has seen a real-terms cut for recipients of 14 per cent for one spare room and 25 per cent for two bedrooms.
Mr Davies said: "These reforms are not working as well in Wales as in London or Birmingham where there is a larger stock of smaller properties."
On meeting teenager Amy Evans and her partner Lloyd Mulry in Blaenavon, the MP said: "The days when we were able to fund people in your situation have gone. You look fairly fit and capable, if I were you I wouldn't spend much longer training on £30 a week. I would be out there looking for work.
"You're not particularly tied to Blaenavon, why not go to London, why stay here if you can't find work here?"
He later said: "Nobody would want anybody not to have a roof over their head."
Housing officer with Bron Afon, Claire Dullea told the programme she could see why the legislation had been introduced, but said: "If we haven't got those one bedrooms available for people to be able to move into then it's not going to happen - and those people left in the three-bedroom houses paying the bedroom tax are really, really struggling."
We contacted Mr Davies for a comment but did not receive a response.
Last month Blaenavon residents challenged the broadcaster Jeremy Paxman to come and visit the town, after he jibed it was not as famous as the Lake District.
Torfaen council even made a video asking him if he will take up the challenge of a visit.