Row breaks out over plans for regionalised benefit payments
A ROW over regionalised benefits has broken out between Welsh Liberal Democrats and Welsh Labour.
Lib Dems have accused their opposition party of hypocrisy over the policy, while Labour has hit back saying the criticism is a "joke".
Earlier this year Labour's Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions, Liam Byrne, told the Commons: "We have indeed had discussions with our colleagues in the Welsh Government, who accept the importance of introducing different arrangements for London and other parts of the country and of a solution that recognises the need to localise the benefits system."
However, following the Labour Party Conference last weekend, Lib Dem AM Eluned Parrott, criticised Welsh Labour for allegedly refusing to stand up for Wales over its policy on regional benefits.
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"Welsh Labour's hypocrisy over regional benefits knows no bounds," she said.
"While Welsh Labour is happy to moan about proposals for regional pay — something they actually introduced when in government — they have remained completely silent on the fact that it is their party's policy to introduce a regional benefits system.
"Let's be clear about this, regional benefits would be victimising people looking for work in Wales just because of where they live. This policy would have a detrimental effect on the poorest families in Wales.
"In his maiden Conference speech, Labour's Shadow Secretary for Wales disgracefully failed to mention his Westminster colleagues' policy on regional benefits even once. Likewise, despite pretences of standing up for Wales, Carwyn Jones remained mute on the subject.
"In the Assembly he is in denial that his party want a regionalised benefits system and when he has a platform in front of his party outside of Wales, he hides from the issue."
In response, a Welsh Labour spokesman said: "That Eluned Parrott thinks she can attack Welsh Labour on regional benefits is a joke.
"Her Lib Dem colleagues in Parliament have waged war on the benefits and support available to disabled people, have tripled tuition fees and cut the child trust fund, tax credits and the winter fuel allowance.
"Welsh Labour's position on this is clear, but what the Lib Dems say in the media is seldom backed up by their voting records in parliament.
"Carwyn and Owen waved the flag for Wales in Manchester this week. Not just championing the achievements of the Welsh Labour government but setting out a vision of a better Wales, with the principles of fairness, social justice and fair play underpinning the decisions that we take. While the Lib Dems continue to roll over for the Tories, Welsh Labour will continue to stand up for the people of Wales."