Wales politics

Council tax benefit: Welsh assembly approves extra £22m

Council tax benefit claimants have been spared a cut in payments after Welsh assembly members approved changes to regulations.

The Welsh government announced £22m to top up the benefit last week, having previously said it could not afford any additional funding.

Opposition parties welcomed what they called the U-turn, but criticised ministers' handling of the changes.

The Labour administration said it was "standing up for the people of Wales".

The extra funding makes up for a 10% cut by the UK government.

Without the extra money, benefit recipients would have been £67 worse off on average in the next financial year.

Conservative AM Janet Finch-Saunders said it was a relief for the 330,000 families in Wales who get council tax benefit.

"But it's appalling that it has taken so long for the minister and your department to do this," she told Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant.

Plaid Cymru AM Simon Thomas said the Welsh government had "major lessons to learn on how to legislate and how to budget properly from this mess".

Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black said the "shambolic situation" left councils with nine days to adopt the new regulations before a legal deadline of 31 January.

Mr Sargeant brushed off accusations of a U-turn: "This is about Carwyn Jones's government standing up for the people of Wales," he said.

The regulations were agreed unanimously by AMs.

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