AMs recalled to Senedd

The Assembly will be recalled after the Welsh Government failed to pass new council tax benefit rules earlier this month.

Tories contrast benefit cut with airport purchase

by Nick Powell

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has linked the Welsh Government's plans to buy Cardiff Airport to its decision to cut council tax benefit in line with a reduction in Treasury funding. He intervened during today's special debate in the Senedd on the new council tax benefit regulations.

The Labour AM Mike Hedges retorted that when the airport was in local authority ownership it was making a million pounds a year. He claimed that the then Welsh Secretary, John Redwood, had insisted that the airport was privatised 'because it was so profitable'.

On the council tax benefit itself, the Conservative Janet Finch-Saunders said the Welsh Government was isolated in its decision to pass on the cut. Labour's Mick Antoniw said the Conservatives had shown contempt for the poor. The new regulations were passed unanimously without a formal vote.

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More will pay council tax -and it will cost more to collect, AMs are warned

by Nick Powell

Council tax benefit regulations being rushed through the Senedd today mean 70% of claimants will have to pay some council tax for the first time, AMs have been told. They've been specially recalled from their Christmas recess for today's debate after the Welsh government rewrote the regulations.

The first draft was blocked by the opposition when AMs were given no time to consider the proposals before voting on them. The Welsh Government said it was because the Treasury didn't tell them how much funding there would be for the benefit until late on the last day of the Assembly autumn term.

Today David Melding, who chaired the committee that examined the revised regulations, said they now include a "sunset clause" that means there will have to be another debate next year. He added that with most claimants now paying tax, it will cost more to collect -and probably more unpaid bills.

Assembly Members recalled from Christmas recess

AMs failed to pass the council tax rules in early December Credit: Barry Batchelor / PA Archive

Assembly Members are being recalled from their Christmas recess to decide on new council tax benefit rules.

It comes after the Welsh Government failed to pass the proposals in early December.

The Assembly wasn't due to meet again until January - but ministers say a delay in passing the new rules could 'deny vital help' to vulnerable people.