Welsh Minister visits Blaenavon to launch new benefits charter

Posted on: Tuesday 23 January 2024
ministers visit

On Monday, Minister for Social Justice and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt and Co-operation Agreement Designated Member Sian Gwenllian, visited Blaenavon Resource Centre to launch the Welsh Benefits Charter.

The Welsh Benefits Charter is a set of underlying principles that has been adopted by all 22 Welsh local authorities and confirms their collective commitment to improve access to financial support for people across Wales.

The principles position Welsh Benefits, such as Free School Meals, Council Tax Reduction Scheme, and Schools Essentials Grant, as an entitlement that ensures a compassionate and accessible system to help people maximise their income and tackle child poverty.

During the visit, Ms Hutt met with Blaenavon resident Olena Avramchuk, who has received lots of support from the council since moving to Wales.

Olena said: "I am very grateful for the support and kindness we have received from everyone here. Torfaen council has been very helpful in assisting us to access benefits and wider services. I am employed in the local school, which gives me some income and a chance to improve my English. I also receive a universal credit top up, which is a payment to help with our living costs and rental payments.

"My daughter receives free school meals and an education essentials grant, which has enabled me to buy her school uniform and other essentials. This support has been crucial for us, as we are on a low income and have limited savings."

Blaenavon Resource Centre is one of many hubs in the borough which provides direct support and a referrals service to people struggling in the cost-of-living crisis.

Organisations such as Citizens Advice, Platfform and Building Resilient Communities provide advice and support to help people in greatest need to pay for their energy, food and essential items, as well ensuring they are claiming everything they may be entitled to.

The Welsh Benefits Charter is one of the commitments in the new Child Poverty Strategy which was launched by Welsh Government this week. It aims to tackle the harmful effects of living in poverty and improve opportunities for children living in poverty. 

Minister for Social Justice and Chief Whip Jane Hutt said: “Tackling child poverty and working with others to achieve this is at the heart of everything we do as a government at all levels in Wales.

“Cwtch Mawr and the Welsh Benefits Charter are prime examples of partnership working in action that will help us achieve our objectives.

“It is only through strong cross-government working and collaboration at regional and local levels, as well as supporting people to help them maximise their income and find pathways out of poverty, that we can work together to deliver on the rights of all children and young people of Wales.”

Councillor Anthony Hunt, Leader of Torfaen Council and spokesperson for WLGA Finance, said: “Now more than ever, as our communities continue to be gripped by the ongoing Cost of Living crisis, it is critical that residents are able to access and claim all eligible support. Working together with Welsh Government and partners, this Charter is part of the ongoing process to design and deliver an inclusive benefits system which works for our residents.

“We urge all residents to check what support they may be entitled to. More information can be found on the council's website.”

The Welsh Benefits Charter is also linked to the The Co-Operation Agreement - a commitment to ‘Support the devolution of the administration of welfare and explore the necessary infrastructure required to prepare for it.


Last Modified: 23/01/2024 Back to top