Question to FM on Benefit Claimants

Mark Drakeford:” “Pa asesiad y mae’r Prif Weinidog wedi’i wneud o effaith unrhyw gynnig i gyflwyno cyfraddau nawdd cymdeithasol rhanbarthol ar y rheini sy’n hawlio budd-daliadau yng Nghymru.

[What assessment has the First Minister made of the impact of any regionalisation of social security rates on benefit claimants in Wales]

The First Minister: We know that Wales will be hit disproportionately hard compared to many other parts of the UK, and any attempt to introduce regional benefits will just make matters worse.

Mark Drakeford: Do you think that the enthusiasm of the Chancellor, George Osborne, for regionalisation extends to knowing that benefit claimants in Wales face the highest electricity prices in Britain? Do you think that the Prime Minister is aware that his instruction to energy companies to ‘clear up’ their tariffs is, according to Consumer Focus, leading to such families being ‘much worse off’ as energy companies scrap discounts and increase the cheapest tariffs one third faster than standard tariffs? Is this not exactly what you would expect when poverty policy is made on the playing fields of Eton?

The First Minister: Absolutely, and I hope that the UK Government comes to its senses, if indeed there is a UK Government after the vote tonight in the House of Commons. We will have to wait and see. You might add that to the comments by Nick Boles, who I understand is very close to the Prime Minister, suggesting the removal of free prescriptions from some pensioners, along with the winter fuel payment, and questioning child benefit—not child benefit for the better off, but child benefit full stop. We know that what he says is a reflection of what the Prime Minister is thinking. It is about time that the Tories came clean about what their real plans are, if they were ever elected with a majority.