Homelessness in Wales has increased by 15% since 2010

Plaid Cymru warns of disproportionate impact of benefit changes on Carmarthenshire and Wales

Plaid Cymru has raised concerns about the effect that changes to the welfare system is having on Wales. New figures released this week show that during the July to September quarter 2011 a total of 1,845 “households” were accepted as homeless, an increase of 15 per cent on the same quarter of 2010, while the number of households in bed and breakfast accommodation has rocketed, increasing by 29% during the same period.

The highest rate of acceptances was seen in Swansea during April to June 2011 at 24.8 per 10,000 households and in Carmarthenshire during July to September at 24.7.

Plaid Cymru is warning that changes made by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in Westminster in April has worsened the situation, and will continue to have far-reaching effects for Wales, polarising demographics from area to area. The UK government’s decision to slash the available benefits means that hundreds of Welsh families no longer receive benefits to help them cover the cost of rent, meaning that more and more families will be unable to keep their homes and left homeless.

Carmarthenshire MP Jonathan Edwards said:

“Just over a year ago I lead my party’s opposition to the UK Government’s plans to cap Housing Benefit. At the time the Department of Work and Pensions itself admitted that over 48,000 people would lose out under the reforms.

“The UK Government’s cuts will leave households to fill the void between their housing benefit income and their rent outgoing. If we are to see meaningful rent reductions the UK Government must introduce a policy which stops landlords inflating the prices of their properties by introducing a rent cap such as those in Ireland and New York.

“The latest figures show the devastating impact the economic challenges are having on Welsh families with little sign of improving. Sadly, Carmarthenshire has found itself with the highest rate of homeless acceptances in the past few months. There can be no doubt that Conservative and Lib Dem policies are having a devastating effect on our communities.

Leader of the Plaid Cymru Councillor Group in Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr. Peter Hughes-Griffiths added:

“We are now seeing example after example of the effects of the London Government on Carmarthenshire and this time of how it affects the most vulnerable in our society”.

ENDS / DIWEDD

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