NOTE: This content is old - Published: Wednesday, Jun 26th, 2019.
Almost 6,000 households in Flintshire are facing relative poverty as the impact of welfare reforms take hold.
Figures released by the local authority have exposed the significant number of families whose earnings are considerably lower than average.
Flintshire Council also said an increasing amount of working people were being adversely affected by the introduction of Universal Credit (UC).
The latest statistics show 41 per cent (3,263) of those who claim the new style benefit are employed, which is higher than the national average.
Meanwhile, 5,879 households who currently receive either housing benefit or council tax reductions are in relative poverty by more than £100 per month.
As a result of the pressure placed on families, the authority has created a special welfare reform response team to support residents.
It comes as people in Flintshire are said to have suffered greater hardship than in other parts of Wales due to being one of the pilot areas for the introduction of UC.
In a report set to go before councillors on Wednesday, Flintshire’s chief officer for housing and assets Neal Cockerton said: “Since the start of UC, the council has seen unprecedented demand on services in relation to managing their finances, navigating the UC online systems and supporting customers to understand their claims and challenge where necessary.
“Due to the ongoing challenges of welfare reform and the impact on other services the welfare reform response team will continue to focus on supporting residents impacted by welfare reform and facing poverty to achieve financial savings and improve resilience.
“The latest welfare reforms will impact on new Flintshire households, for example, working households, who may also seek advice and support on how to manage their loss of income.
“The team will, with the additional resources, be able to identify, plan support and undertake pro-active activities to assist residents in order to mitigate welfare reforms in 2019/20.”
In order to assist people financially, the council is planning to contact 44 mixed aged couples who are eligible for pension credit but are not claiming it.
Meanwhile, employment support is being targeted at 5,218 households who are out of work, but only facing low barriers to gaining employment.
The authority is also encouraging almost 130 families in Flintshire who are eligible for free childcare to take up the offer.
The report on the impact of welfare reforms in Flintshire will be considered by members of its community and enterprise scrutiny committee on Wednesday.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).