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Welsh MPs call for action over benefit payments

Welsh MPs have urged the Government to take action over the company responsible for assessing thousands of terminally ill people across Wales, after unprecedented delays meant some patients died before they were even seen.

Susan Elan Jones MP led the debate in Westminster Hall Credit: ITV News Wales

Welsh MPs criticised Capita, the company contracted to carry out assessments under the recently introduced personal independence payment system, calling the backlog of medical assessments which have left some claimants struggling financially, "a scandal of national proportions".

Labour MP Susan Elan Jones said: "It's very clear from Capita's handling of PIP assessments that they are not the right company for the job."

Earlier, Stephen Duckworth, the Chief Executive of Capita Personal Independence Payments, apologised and said that there has been recent investment in the system to help make improvements.

Shopping addict: Spending money was a 'buzz'

Shopping addict Vicki Appleton says spending money gave her a "real buzz".

Speaking on ITV's This Morning programme, the mother-of-one from Cardiff said her obsessive shopping started when she was just a teenager.

In the years that followed the 29-year-old managed to rack up a bill of over £200,000, including spending £25,000 on a round the world trip.

Dr Dave Barker, a consultant forensic psychiatrist at the Priory Group talks to ITV News about how to spot the signs of someone with a shopping addiction.


UK Government says PIP payments will be back-dated

The Department of Work and Pensions says people who may have missed out on their Personal Independence Payments will have their payments back-dated.

It's after criticism from Welsh MP, Susan Elan Jones, who says there have been unacceptable delays in assessing whether people are eligible for the benefits.

PIP is a completely new benefit with a face-to-face assessment and regular reviews to ensure support goes to those who need it most. In some cases the end-to-end claims process is taking longer than the old system of Disability Living Allowance, which relied on a self-assessment form. We are working with providers to ensure that all the steps in the process are as smooth as they can be and the benefit is back-dated so no one is left out of pocket.

– Department of Work and Pensions

Benefit payment: Company promises to 'get it right'

The head of the company which assesses people for their eligibility to access Personal Independence Payments has apologised.

It comes as Welsh MP, Susan Elan Jones, is holding a debate in Westminster about the new benefit payment scheme.

She says there have been unacceptable delays in assessing people and paying them benefits.

Stephen Duckworth, the Chief Executive of Capita Personal Independence Payments, says: "We've invested significantly more to get it right, and we will get it right."

Addicted to shopping: Welsh mum spends £200k in 10 years

Vicki Appleton from Cardiff says her addiction started when she was 13 Credit: Dimitris Legakis/Athena Picture Agency Ltd

Shopping is an expensive habit for many of us, but for one Welsh woman, it almost cost her life.

Mother-of-one Vicki Appleton from Cardiff, started her obsessive shopping when she was just 13 years old, splurging her £20 wages on clothes, bags and sweets.

By the time she left school, her addiction had escalated, taking out loans and credit cards to satisfy her shopping urges.

In the years that followed the 29-year-old managed to rack up a bill of over £200,000, including spending £25,000 on a round the world trip.

She said,

"When I was 20, I went into a travel agents' to see if there were any cheap deals. By the time I left I'd spent £10,000 on a round the world trip, complete with dozens of first class flights."

But, her addiction eventually led her to try to take her own life.

In October 2013, Vicki admitted admit herself to a psychiatric unit.

She says she's now trying to get her life back on track.

"Now I'm desperately trying to control my addiction for Eli's sake. I'm unsure exactly how much I owe to creditors but I know there's around £30,000 of things I haven't paid for."

"I haven't paid any of my household bills for two years and I'm so terrified of being left alone with my credit cards that I've made my brother move in.

Some women might think retail therapy is a bit of harmless fun, but it almost claimed my life."


Wales TUC: 'Pay has been squeezed at all levels'

Wales TUC says nearly a quarter of jobs in Wales pay less than the living wage.

Their General Secretary, Martin Mansfield said working families are facing the biggest pressures since Victorian times.

Pay has been squeezed at all levels below the boardroom and it's costing our economy dear.

The number of living wage employers is growing rapidly and unions are leading the way in encouraging more employers to sign up and pay it as part of a fairer overall deal at work.

Workers in Wales need to see a far greater commitment to pay the living wage from employers, and the UK Government needs to act now to introduce modern wages councils, which could set higher minimum rates in industries where employers can afford to pay their staff more.

– Martin Mansfield, Wales TUC General Secretary

Nearly a quarter of jobs 'pay less than the living wage'

The living wage stands at £7.65 per hour across the UK. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Wales TUC says close to a quarter of jobs in Wales pay less than the living wage.

Their analysis of official figures revealed 23% of Welsh workers are paid below the living wage - a higher share than in any other UK nation or region.

It also found the concentration of low paid work varies across parliamentary constituencies.

For example, Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Rhondda top the table of pay blackspots with 39.9% and 39.7% of those working locally, earning below the living wage respectively.

For working women, the picture is even bleaker, with around 46% of women working in Dwyfor Meirionydd taking home less than the living wage.

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the introduction of the National Minimum Wage.

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