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Volunteers help with garden makeover for Cwmgwili family

Frances can now take her wheelchair outside into the garden. Credit: ITV News

Volunteers from Carmarthenshire have been helping to transform a young girl's garden to make it wheelchair accessible for her.

11-year-old Frances Watkins from Cwmgwili has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy and used to sit indoors, watching her family enjoy their garden as it was not suitable for her wheelchair.

Last week, a team of local volunteers from the Department of Work and Pensions and the charity WellChild helped to give the garden a special makeover so that Frances can now join her brothers and sisters in her garden.

50,000 Welsh workers on sick leave each year

Around 50,000 workers were on sick leave for more than a month each year since 2010 in Wales Credit: David Jones/PA Archive/Press Association Images

As many as 50,000 Welsh employees were on sick leave for a month or more each year between October 2010 and September 2013, according to new figures.

The Department of Work and Pensions has published the stats as it prepares to launch a new Health and Work service in a bid to prevent sickness absence turning into long-term welfare dependency.

The service aims to help employees who have been on sickness absence for four weeks to return to work and support employers to manage sick absence among their workforce.

Work and Pensions minister Mike Penning said: "More than 130 million years a day are lost to sickness absence in Great Britain, which has a substantial impact on workers, employers and taxpayers.

"As part of the government's long-term economic plan, we are taking action to get people back into work. This is a triple-win. It will mean more people with a job, reduced cost for business, and a more financially secure future for Britain."


Resident speaks of outrage at 'bedroom tax' confusion

There are warnings tonight that the so-called 'bedroom tax' is causing chaos and confusion, as thousands of people who thought they were liable to pay it are discovering they're not.

Under the rules, anyone who has been in their home since 1996 or before - and has continually claimed housing benefit - does NOT have to pay.

One Cardiff resident told ITV News she was 'outraged' at having to watch people in her community downsize when they didn't have to, as well as the fact that she might now be owed money herself.

The Department for Work and Pensions says it is looking at the issue carefully and will act as necessary.

Thousands may be exempt from paying 'bedroom tax'

Anyone who has been in their home since before 1996 does not have to pay the subsidy. Credit: PA

It is estimated that 5,000 people in Wales who are paying a spare room subsidy could - and should - have been exempt.

Under the rule, anyone who has been in their home since before 1996 and has continually claimed housing benefit does not have to pay the subsidy.

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions say they are looking at the issue carefully and will take any necessary action.


Benefit claimants prepare for payment cap

Benefit caps will be rolled out across the country from next week Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Hundreds of benefit claimants across Wales will see their payments capped at £500 a week from today. New rules by the UK government mean families can no longer claim more - and single people will be limited to £350 a week.

Most will see a reduction in their housing allowance meaning they'll have to move or make-up the shortfall. The government says no-one should receive more in benefits than those working. The majority of those affected in Wales will be in Cardiff - where an estimated 300 people will see a cut.