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Thousands in Flintshire facing hit from Government benefits cuts

THOUSANDS of Flintshire residents will be left out of pocket by Government benefit changes – and it’s going to get worse.

That was the stark warning from the county’s Labour MPs this week after Conservative proposals to cap state welfare payments were pushed through on Tuesday night.

Benefits traditionally rise in line with inflation and were due to go up 2.2% in April, but increases will be limited to 1% for the next three years.

Tories say the cap is aimed at helping ‘hard-working families’, but David Hanson and Mark Tami claim the move will hit the poorest hardest.

Figures obtained by the Flintshire MPs reveal 11,200 people in Delyn and Alyn and Deeside currently receiving working tax credits – Government income supplements – will be hit.

Almost 3,000 in the county on Jobseeker’s Allowance will also suffer ‘real terms’ cuts, as will anyone getting sick pay and maternity allowance. And child benefit will be frozen from April 1.

Conservative and Lib Dem MPs rejected a Labour bid to block the proposals by 328 votes to 262 after five hours of heated debate.

Delyn MP Mr Hanson blasted the Westminster coalition – describing them as ‘out of touch’.

“This tax on strivers will hit people hard as they start the new year in an economy made difficult because of the Government’s actions,” he said.

“I voted against the Bill and I will be doing all I can to fight against this and make sure people get the support they need.”

Mr Tami, MP for Alyn and Deeside, said: “It is very disappointing that the Government are acting in such a divisive manner.

“More needs to be done to strengthen the economy to ensure high employment rates instead of this real term cut to benefits which will affect many hardworking families.”

Charities have also been quick to condemn the coalition cuts and looming welfare reforms.

The Children’s Society said up to 40,000 soldiers, 300,000 nurses and 150,000 primary and nursery school teachers across England and Wales will lose out, as well as more than a million administrative workers and secretaries.

A nurse earning £530 per week who is a lone parent with two children will lose £424 a year by 2015.

A couple with two children, with the single earner being a primary school teacher earning £600 per week, will lose the same amount.

The Tories say that out-of-work benefits have increased by almost twice as much as salaries over the past five years, ‘creating huge disincentives that discourage people from working’.

Chester’s Conservative MP Stephen Mosley told the Chronicle: “Many hardworking families are seeing their budgets squeezed in these tough economic times. They want to make sure that they are not penalised for working hard, and this is exactly how the Government feels.

“I am a firm believer in the welfare state, but I cannot abide a welfare state which destroys aspiration, hope and personal responsibility.”