Swansea Council and credit union join forces to help tenants deal with welfare reform.
SWANSEA COUNCIL and the city's credit union have joined forces to help tenants manage their money.
The new scheme will see tenants be provided with a range of accounts to support them as welfare reform begins to be introduced.
From April, more than 2,000 people will have their housing benefit reduced if they have one or more spare bedroom.
Dubbed the bedroom tax, recipients will have their benefit reduced if they are deemed to have to much surplus living space.
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Swansea Council leader David Phillips said: "We already know the changes to the social security system being introduced by the UK Government will have an impact on thousands of Swansea families and this is one way that we can help people manage on a reduced income.
"As a council we are committed to helping tackle debt, which very quickly traps people who may be experiencing financial hardship.
"Credit unions are cooperatives, which means they will offer balanced financial advice and won't charge high interest rates."
The scheme will see tenants offered a rent, savings and budgeting account.
Once they have paid in to these accounts, the union will make direct payments on their behalf on the correct date.
There will be no bank charges and tenants who join the scheme will be given access to the union's other services, including saving schemes and affordable loans.
Meanwhile Mr Phillips has met with delegates from across local government in Wales to discuss what challenges will need to be met to deal with welfare changes.
Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) spokesman for welfare Mr Phillips said: "The UK Government has set in train the largest revision of the welfare settlement since the post war period, and local councils and their strategic partners now face the unenviable task of not only administering these changes, but of mitigating the effect of these reforms on some of the most vulnerable communities in Wales."
Swansea's credit union is called Lasa and is based in Walter Road. It provides responsible savings and loans for people. It has been operating in Swansea for just over 20 years.
Councillor June Burtonshaw, cabinet member for place, said: "This scheme will help tenants who are affected by the changes to prioritise their essential payments like rent."