COUNCILS in Wales which have successfully rolled out Universal Credit support are being penalised for the 'inefficiency' of some English local authorities, the leader of Blaenau Gwent has said.

The department for work and pensions has announced it will be working with the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) to provide Universal Support from April instead of councils which currently provide the service.

Universal Support is the system of advice, support and help offered to claimants.

But Independent Cllr Nigel Daniels, leader of Blaenau Gwent council, said the news was 'disappointing' as the local authority, and other councils in Wales, had worked hard to successfully provide support for claimants.

"What Wales has been penalised for is the inefficiency of some English councils," he told a full meeting of the council on Wednesday.

Cllr Haydn Trollope (Labour, Tredegar Central and West) also criticised the move and praised the support offered to claimants in Blaenau Gwent.

"I would suggest that the support the residents of Blaenau Gwent have had is second to none, it's unbelievable," he said.

"The only problem I have got is the money Westminster is giving is for digital support, it's not for face to face support."

And Cllr Jonathan Millard added that it was 'sad' the council appeared to have been penalised for the 'mistakes' made by other local authorities.

Citizens Advice will run its developing support service alongside councils until March 31.

Then from April, CAB will take over the delivery of Universal Support.

The UK government says the switch will "ensure a consistent and streamlined service" for claimants.

The support scheme aims to help claimants through every step of making a Universal Credit claim.

It comes as a council report reveals that as of September 17, Blaenau Gwent social housing landlord Tai Calon Community Housing had 135 Universal Credit claims in place.

Of these 135, 98 accounts are in arrears, making up 72.59 per cent of the total, with the sum of the arrears equalling £49,960.