Dawn Bowden AM welcomes Welsh Government support for  hard pressed families

Dawn Bowden AM has welcomed the Welsh Labour Governments continued commitment to the council tax reduction scheme.

The scheme helps a number of hard pressed families in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney to pay their council tax bills.

The announcement will ensure that approximately 300,000 vulnerable and low-income households in Wales will continue to be protected from any increase in their council tax bills.

Dawn Bowden said: “This is good news for many hard pressed households across my constituency who will continue to receive support with their council tax bills”

“Households that in many cases have felt the full force of the UK governments cruel and shambolic welfare reforms.”

“I would urge residents who think they may be entitled to support with their Council Tax bills to contact Merthyr Tydfil or Caerphilly Council as appropriate”.

“This is another example of our Welsh Government going an extra step to help a significant number of families facing cost pressures in my constituency”.

The approach taken by the Welsh Government is in stark contrast to the situation in England, where local authorities have been left to design their own schemes and manage the associated funding shortfall.  As a result, council tax liability varies by local authority, a multitude of different schemes operate and over two million low-income households are faced with having to pay more of their council tax bill.

If you are liable to pay council tax, either as a homeowner or a tenant, and you live in the property as your main residence, you might be able to get a CTR. To be eligible you must:

  • have a low income, or
  • receive certain welfare benefits.

Best wishes for the year ahead

At the start of a New Year can I offer my best wishes to constituents for the year ahead. Can I also thank the many public service and emergency workers who have helped to keep us safe over the Christmas period and those who worked long hours in retail, hospitality and other parts of our local economy.

“Choose Well”

At this time of year we often find a lot of pressure on our Accident and Emergency services so it is important that we all “Choose Well”, and that we get the advice and the help that we might need in the most appropriate place. Remember that your local pharmacy can often help with advice and medication for a wide range of common ailments, and the minor injuries unit can deal with issues that don’t need a visit to A+E.

You can find good advice on the Choose Well website: http://www.choosewellwales.org.uk/home;

The year ahead

Of course we enter 2019 faced with a huge amount of uncertainty. We are only a matter of weeks away from the huge issues related to our membership of the European Union. I am sure none of us voted for such disruption in our economy, the fear of job losses and the upset in our communities. If nothing else we have learnt how complex these matters are and the time we may still need to consider all the issues involved.

Transport

I try to keep my focus on important local issues. I hope for good news on the new bus station for Merthyr Tydfil soon. During the year we will hopefully deliver a fresh economic action plan for communities along the Heads of the Valleys road which includes the Upper Rhymney valley. The new investment for both our local rail lines will be rolled out, and while engineering changes do not happen overnight, this is good news in the months and years ahead.

Local health and care services

The health board, local authority and other partners are looking to strengthen the health and care services provided in the Upper Rhymney valley. So with new money being allocated by the Welsh Government I look forwards to further news about these plans in the months ahead.

Promise kept 

Just before Christmas it was confirmed that for those people who need to enter residential care in Wales they will be able to keep £50,000 of their own money before care costs have to be met. This was a promise we made at the 2016 election and it is good to see the promise being delivered in full by April this year. In the same way the election promise we made on childcare for the working parent of three and four year olds will be fully implemented this year.

Advice and support

As always my office is open to receive queries or any request for help from constituents. You can write to the office at 110 High Street, Merthyr Tydfil CF47 8AP or ring 01685 386672. You can email [email protected] .I also hold regular surgeries around the constituency. Details can be found on my website.

 

People in residential care to keep more of their money

Dawn Bowden AM has welcomed an increase in the  amount of money people in Wales can keep when in residential care. The amount will increase from £40,000 to £50,000 from April 2019.

At the last Assembly elections (2016) I, and my Welsh Labour colleagues, pledged to increase the amount of money kept  (capital limit) from 24k to 50k.  This increase means that the pledge has now been met.

Dawn said “I welcome this announcement that is about Welsh Labour delivering on our promise to the people of Wales.”

“I know people are worried about the costs of care and the thought of having to use their life savings or selling their homes to pay for care.

“Welsh Labour has always stood up for older people in Wales. That why we promised to more than double the capital people can keep when in residential care – freeing up more of people’s money for them to use as they wish”.

From April 2017 the limit was raised to £30,000, supported by an additional £4.5 million per annum being added to the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) to enable local authorities’ implementation of this. From this April the limit was increased further to £40,000 with an additional £7 million per annum being added to the RSG to make funding of £11.5 million per annum in total.

The success of this policy can be seen through the direct impact it is having on care home residents in Wales. Over the eighteen months since we introduced the first increase, around 1,500 care home residents have benefited which is a significant achievement in a relatively short timeframe.