The Conservative candidate for Caerphilly in May’s Assembly election has criticised the council for the way it hands out financial support to pensioners.
A Welsh Assembly grant will see Caerphilly County Borough Council receive more than
£210,000 this year to pensioners with their council tax bills. Under the Assembly scheme £4 million is being made available to local authorities in Wales.
No guidelines have been laid out to councils on how to distribute the funding. Some give the money to all pensioners while most, such as Caerphilly, give the aid to those already receiving council tax benefit. The council is yet to make a decision on how the money will be distributed this year.
Tory candidate Owen Meredith wants the council to provide a flat rate of support to all pensioners living in the county borough.
He said: “This is a great scheme and I give credit to the Assembly Government for introducing it. However, I am disappointed that Caerphilly Council took decisions which failed to help hundreds
of pensioners who are really feeling the squeeze and get no help from elsewhere.
“Providing support only to those already in receipt of council tax benefit fails to help those who need it most.
“Pensioners who, often having taken the responsible decision to save for their retirement, find
themselves too ‘well off’ to qualify for benefits but are none-the-less struggling to pay their bills.”
Mr Meredith sad he has written to Cllr Colin Mann, the cabinet member responsible for finance on
Caerphilly County Borough Council asking him to take action. The Assembly provides Local
Authorities with a £5,000 grant to cover the cost of administering their chosen scheme.
Cllr Mann, who is also deputy leader, said he had responded to emails from Mr Meredith.
He said: “The reality is that, although the money is welcome, it does not cover the full problem, so all local authorities unfortunately have had to devise a ‘rationing’ system.
“Obviously this didn’t cause Mr Meredith a problem when the council took this action in previous years – there must be an election on.”