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Eluned Parrott AM criticises Welsh Labour’s ‘disgraceful’ silence on regional benefits

October 4, 2012 4:21 PM

Welsh Liberal Democrat AM Eluned Parrott has criticised Welsh Labour for refusing to stand up for Wales over its policy on regional benefits.

Labour's Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions, Liam Byrne, has repeatedly made clear that it is Labour's policy to introduce a regionalised benefits system. Throughout the Labour Party's Conference, not a single Welsh Labour politician has remarked on the detrimental effect this policy would have on some of the most vulnerable people in Wales.

Eluned Parrott commented:

"Welsh Labour's hypocrisy over regional benefits knows no bounds. While Welsh Labour is happy to moan about proposals for regional pay - something they actually introduced when in government - they have remained completely silent on the fact that it is their party's policy to introduce a regional benefits system. Let's be clear about this, regional benefits would be victimising people looking for work in Wales just because of where they live. This policy would have a detrimental effect on the poorest families in Wales.

"In his maiden Conference speech, Labour's Shadow Secretary for Wales disgracefully failed to mention his Westminster colleagues' policy on regional benefits even once. Likewise, despite pretences of standing up for Wales, Carwyn Jones remained mute on the subject. In the Assembly he is in denial that his party want a regionalised benefits system and when he has a platform in front of his party outside of Wales, he hides from the issue.

"The First Minister's failure to fight for the best deal for Wales is in stark contrast to the Welsh Liberal Democrats. At out Conference we used our influence to cement Liberal Democrat policy to reject regional pay, another step forward in the fight to stop George Osborne's plans. In contrast, the First Minister decided to be completely silent on the fact that if in Government, Labour would be hitting the poorest people in Wales with this ill judged policy.

"Despite David Cameron wanting a regionalised benefits system, Liberal Democrats Ministers have made clear that this is not something that will happen under their watch. I am proud that the Liberal Democrats are the only mainstream party that is not willing to pander to populist right wing calls for regional benefits."