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Protesters march through Cardiff against 'bedroom tax'

Protester with bedroom tax placard
The bedroom tax was introduced in April this year Credit: PA

Hundreds of protesters will march through Cardiff against the 'bedroom tax'.

Homeless charities, the Church in Wales and assembly members have all spoken out against the controversial plans to charge tenants for empty bedrooms.

Shelter Cymru say they have seen an increase in tenants falling behind in rent payments due to the 'bedroom tax'.

They have also called on the Welsh Government to increase the one and two bedroom housing stock.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said:

"The removal of the spare room subsidy is a necessary reform to return fairness to housing benefit...the taxpayer can no longer afford to pay for people to live in properties larger than they need."

Firm stops building homes in parts of the valleys

One of Wales' biggest house builders is stopping its developments in the valleys north of Pontypridd because it doesn't make enough profit on sales.

The news from Persimmon Homes comes a day after the Welsh Government announced plans to invest £130 million to build affordable homes across Wales in the next 30 years.

But housing community bosses say those plans don't go far enough, as Alexandra Lodge reports.

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£130m for homes in Wales

20 Housing Associations are taking part in the scheme Credit: PA

Work will start this year on constructing 1000 homes which will be built in Wales over the next two years.

And over the next 30 years the Welsh Government will be putting £130m towards building "quality and affordable housing.

Carl Sargeant, Minister for Housing and Regeneration says, "Building new homes is important not only in meeting the growing housing need of communities but also as a way of providing work to help people out of poverty and to counter the highly damaging effects of the UK Government's 'bedroom tax'.

Bedroom tax: One in three council tenants in arrears

Over a third of council tenants affected by the bedroom tax in areas of Wales have fallen behind on their rent, according to figures released by the TUC today.

Figures obtained by the False Economy campaign reveal across Britain over 50,000 council housing tenants have fallen behind on their rent since the reform was introduced in April – nearly a third of all tenants affected by the tax in the 114 local authorities that provided data.

However in some parts of Wales, the proportion of council housing tenants in arrears has been far higher.

In Wrexham and Anglesey, almost half of all council house tenants (44%) affected by the bedroom tax have been pushed into arrears since April.

In Swansea, 38% of tenants in the city affected by the tax have fallen behind on their rent and in Cardiff, 616 families have experienced difficulties.

Wales TUC has welcomed the Welsh Government’s Smaller Properties Programme announced in August which provided £20 million in funding to help with the provision of smaller affordable homes.

Reacting to the figures Wales TUC National Officer, Julie Cook said,

“Today’s depressing news provides further proof that the Bedroom Tax is pushing families into complete despair. Disabled people who need space for their carers and families, and who have nowhere else to move, are being put at risk of debt and homelessness by the tax."

Cuts protest at Lib Dem Conference

Protest at Lib Dem Conference
Protesters gathered outside the Welsh Lib Dem Conference Credit: ITV News Cymru Wales Nick Powell

Protesters campaigning against the so-called 'bedroom tax' and other cuts in government spending held a small demonstration outside the Cardiff hotel where the Welsh Liberal Democrats are holding their conference.

They claimed that the Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, had 'gall' to come to Cardiff and described him as 'the millionaire deputy prime minister who lives in a million pound home while telling us we need to downsize our homes'.

In the Conference hall, Mr Clegg told delegates that governments had to live within their means. But he denied that the coalition is 'cruel and unbending', saying ministers had made a pragmatic choice to slow down the deficit and debt reduction timetable.

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Welfare reforms now in force

Welfare reforms have come into force across Wales today that could reduce benefits and tax credits here by more than half a billion pounds in a year. Tens of thousands of people in Wales will be left out of pocket, with warnings that many are going to struggle to make ends meet.

The Minister for communities and tackling poverty, Huw Lewis, has described these changes as a "watershed moment." Megan Boot reports.

Hundreds join Cardiff 'bedroom tax' protest

Protests have been held across Wales calling on the Government to rethink the so called 'bedroom tax.'

It comes into force next week meaning some people will see their housing benefit cut if they have a spare room in the house.

Campaigners say it's targeting some of the most vulnerable in society.

Our reporter Rob Osborne has been to meet one disabled woman affected in Mountain Ash.

Department of Work and Pensions: new changes 'vital'

The Department of Work and Pensions say it's 'vital' the better use is made of housing. It's in response to demonstrations in Wales and across the UK over the changes to housing benefit.

With nearly 2 million households in Great Britain on waiting lists, and over a quarter of a million living in overcrowded accommodation, it is vital we ensure better use of our housing stock.

That said, we know there are people who have had certain modifications made to their homes to manage disabilities. That's why we are giving councils in Wales almost £6.2million to help vulnerable tenants with their housing needs.

– Statement from the Department of Work and Pensions
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