Tory minister ‘wasn’t consulted’ by Welsh Gov on £100 support for low income households
A Tory cabinet minster has suggested he wasn’t consulted about the Welsh Government’s planned £100 winter payout to low income households.
Simon Hart, the Welsh Secretary said the decision “hasn’t come across my desk”, in response to the news of the £51m package of support to help families facing the cost-of-living crisis to pay their bills this winter.
The Welsh Government’s Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans said the payment won’t affect the benefits or tax of any families that claim it when it was announced.
She said that the Welsh Government had been in talks with the UK Government to make sure it won’t lead to any unintended consequences.
Earlier this year a Welsh Government bonus payment to care workers of £500 was taxed at a Westminster level because the Conservative government refused to exempt it.
Simon Hart told ITV Wales: “We have been here before with Welsh government on previous occasions where they announced a sort of handout figure, and then said afterwards, retrospectively, ‘by the way, please don’t tax it.’
“The Treasury always get quite frustrated when they are asked to retrospectively adjust… particularly where legislation is needed – they can’t just exempt people from income tax without passing the necessary law.
“So it was news to me, put it this way, that she has asked the Treasury for special dispensation in this area.
“She may have done but it hasn’t come across my desk, but it has in the past. And in the past, it’s always been rather late in the day and after the announcement was made and they’re putting the Treasury in an impossible position.”
Rebecca Evans, Minster for Finance and Local Government said: “Families across Wales are facing a real cost-of-living crisis thanks to rising prices and cuts to key benefit payments.
“To help tackle these unprecedented challenges, we are making £51m available to develop our own bespoke Household Support Fund to help with some of the costs families are facing.
“Where Westminster has failed to support families, the Welsh Government will step in and back our communities through this challenging period.”
The first phase of the Household Support Fund will target heating and eating – providing families with extra help to pay their energy bills over the winter and giving extra funding to foodbanks and community food schemes.
It comes as the UK Government in Westminster has refused to reverse its £20 cut in Universal Credit for tens of thousands of families and the Bank of England is warning inflation will rise to 5% by the spring, pushing prices even higher.
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