Promoted by Mark Ward-Jones on behalf of the Torfaen Constituency Labour Party at 27 Brunel Road, Fairwater, Cwmbran, Torfaen NP44 4QT.
Lynne Neagle AM has today used a First Minister’s question in the Senedd to urge the UK Tory Government not to appeal the Court of Appeal’s bedroom tax finding last week. Today’s questions were the first since the court found that that bedroom tax rules were discriminatory to the family of a disabled child in Wales and a victim of extreme domestic violence.
Responding to the Torfaen AM, the First Minister backed these calls and placed on record that he had written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, asking him to abandon the appeal.
Lynne Neagle AM has campaigned hard against the Bedroom Tax since proposals were first introduced. In 2013 she led a Senedd short debate to highlight the grave consequences, at a time when there was also a DWP Pilot underway in Torfaen to test the effect of plans to pay the housing element of Universal Credit direct to tenants.
The latest official figures released by the DWP show that over 1,500 housing benefit claimants in Torfaen will be affected by the changes.
Speaking in the Chamber, Lynne Neagle AM said:
“Last week, the Court of Appeal ruled that the UK Government’s bedroom tax amounted to unlawful discrimination following two cases, including one brought by a family from Wales with a disabled child. The UK Government now plans to take this matter to the Supreme Court—a decision that has been met with condemnation and disbelief.
[First Minister] will you raise this matter with the UK Government on behalf of all those affected in Wales by this spiteful policy, and would you agree with me that if this Tory Government had one shred of decency, they would abandon this appeal and stop persecuting disabled children, their families and all vulnerable people?”
Responding to the question, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM said:
“Absolutely. I can assure the Member that I have written today to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, calling on him to abandon any appeal and calling on him to ensure that there is no discrimination against those who were part of the court case last week, those who have been the victims of domestic violence, and those, in fact, caring for disabled children.
Unfortunately, the UK Government has taken the view that it wants to appeal. It has admitted discrimination against disabled children and yet now it wants to appeal to the Supreme Court. I’m afraid it’s a sign of a Government that is a bad loser with no conscience.”