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    06 December, 2005

    Assembly Budget

    PENSIONERS will benefit from an extra £10m to keep their homes warm and secure if Welsh Labour’s Assembly Budget is passed this week.

    Our budget plans include:

    • £10m extra to provide better security, warmth and comfort for pensioner households

    • An ambitious council tax benefit drive to help people claim the financial assistance they are entitled to. At present, many pensioners particularly do not claim the council tax benefit which they are entitled to get. Pensioners whose council tax has risen two bands will also get an additional £100, on top of the money pensioners are receiving with their Winter Heating Allowance from Gordon Brown to go towards council tax.

    • An extra £15million for better meals in schools

    The bulk of the Budget will deliver unprecedented investment in public services. It will deliver, over three years:

    • An £800m programme of capital investment in the NHS to slash waiting times for operations, £45m for health promotion and an extra £50m a year for improvements in social care

    • An extra £140m for early years provision, £38m to create flexible learning opportunities for 14 – 19 year olds across schools, colleges and workplaces

    • An economy driven by knowledge through an extra £30m expansion of innovation, design and technology initiatives. £27m for local economic regeneration and an extra £33m in transport investment

    • £119m Crime Fighting Fund to defeat the thugs and vandals

    • An unprecedented investment in housing – with an extra £30m for supporting older people to stay in their own homes and £27m for social housing

    • An extra £38m for waste management, particularly recycling schemes

    I have always been extremely concerned at the take-up of council tax benefit in the area. That is why I am so pleased the Labour Assembly Government will launch a major programme to tackle this pressing issue. My office has helped a number of people claim this benefit. The scheme could lead to between an extra £10m to £16m being claimed in benefit.

    Similarly, I know many pensioners who have been helped to improve their home heating through the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES). Further Assembly investment in this not only helps pensioners but also makes economic and environmental sense.

    Rhondda TV
    The Labour Party

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

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