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Residents of Merthyr Tydfil, Anglesey, and Rhondda Cynon Taf in Wales have reason to be angry after their councillors sent back unspent money meant to keep benefit cap victims from eviction.

Merthyr Council handed back £40,000 – 19.2 per cent of its allocation – but denied funds to 231 applicants for Discretionary Housing Payments. That’s more than one-third of the total (668).

Councillors seem to be facing in both directions at once with their excuses.

Cllr Andrew Barry said the expected number of qualifying applicants, according to Conservative government policy, did not materialise.

But applicants who were denied the cash were left facing homelessness!

Clearly, something is wrong. If it’s the way councils are enacting the policy, they need to put their house in order. If it is government policy that is at fault, then it’s time to kick up a stink about it.

Three councils have been criticised for handing back money intended for people who are struggling to pay their rent.

Every year councils in Wales receive money from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to spend on discretionary housing payments (DHP).

Welsh councils were given a total of £9,749,151 in the last financial year – an increase of 24% compared with 2016/17 – to help people cope with changes to benefits.

Merthyr Tydfil said it was sending back £40,000 (19.2% of their allocation), Anglesey £23,501 (14.4%) and Rhondda Cynon Taf £13,493 (2%).

Merthyr council accepted 437 applications for DHP and refused 231.

Source: Criticism over unspent rent help money

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