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Powys County Council will not be sending letters urging the UK Government to keep the £20 weekly Universal Credit uplift.

And the county’s Conservative MP’s will not be asked to oppose the “cut” to Universal Credit either.

A motion by Labour councillors proposing such a move was voted down at a council meeting on Thursday, September 23.

An alternative motion was put forward by Conservative group leader and finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies and replaced their proposal.

Cllr Davies requested the council “work in partnership with advice agencies to support residents impacted by the removal of the temporary increase in the Universal Credit.”

He said: “The amendment concentrates on what we can do in Powys.

“The Chancellor was extremely clear when this uplift was introduced it was a temporary response to the pandemic.

“We are in a much more positive position since the pandemic and the restrictions have ended, job vacancies are at pre-pandemic levels at a record high.

“This is a promising sign that the economy is recovering quickly, the UK government recognises that work is the best route to prosperity and it’s right that the government shift its focus to supporting people back into work.”

Cllr David Selby, for the Liberal Democrats, wondered when the Covid-19 pandemic had ended?

Cllr Selby said: “My reading of the situation is that we are sadly in an extended crisis, with food shortages, large utility price increases on the way and cost living increases.

“All have a huge impact to those in receipt of Universal Credit.

“With this in mind, clearly the increase should continue.

“If we look to the past the cabinet has quite rightly trumpeted the need to lobby the Welsh Government on their financial settlement and has emphasised the special needs of Powys.

“Now, when we have the opportunity to lobby the UK Government about a decision that would disproportionately disadvantage thousands of Powys residents, they instead duck their responsibility.”

Cllr Davies told councillors that he “didn’t say” the pandemic was over but that the economy was “definitely recovering”

Cllr Davies said: “We are committed to supporting the lowest paid and the most vulnerable in society, we are one of the few local authorities with money advice officers.

“I’m far more interested in doing stuff than writing letters and making sure that our communities have the correct support in place and the economy is strong enough to support higher wages and better jobs.”

Labour’s Cllr Sarah Williams urged Cllr Davies to change his mind and said: “Unless we have these benefits coming in, our advisors are not able to support the people who are looking for the money they desperately need at this time.

“You say you want to support people all you need to do is write a letter, it’s asking nothing.”

“Shame on anybody who doesn’t support this.”

Cllr Davies’ amendment was voted on twice.

The first time to take over from the original motion, it was agreed by 26 votes to 23 with three abstentions.

The second time as the substantive and was agreed by 35 votes to 11 with eight abstentions.

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