Crisis meetings are being held amid dire predictions that the Government's benefits reforms will plunge Neath Port Talbot back to the dark days of soup kitchens.
The prospect was variously described as frightening, terrifying and horrifying when the full impact of the changes was spelt out to councillors.
They accused the Government of being cruel and vicious in targeting the most vulnerable in society, with families and single parents expected to be the hardest hit.Oh, woe! Oh, misery! Oh, they’ve got it in for Wales!
But wait. This is a nationwide effect. Why should it so severely impact here?
Neath Port Talbot has one of the highest claimant rates in Wales — one in four residents is receiving at least one form of benefit — and so will feel the full force of the impending changes.Ah. Right.
Naturally, there’s a lot of discontent:
Social justice charity the Bevan Foundation, which the council commissioned to assess the likely impact, has warned that many people will see their benefits cut or even lost altogether.
"It's going to have a huge, incredibly disruptive impact on lots of people," said foundation director Victoria Winckler. "That impact is going to be mostly negative."It’s meant to be. We can’t afford to support people who aren’t productive. We’ve had enough of that.
Neath Port Talbot Council is now holding crisis management talks not only between its own departments likely to be affected, such as housing benefits, welfare rights and homelessness, but external agencies too.
They are looking at what can be done to mitigate the worst effects or, as Dr Winckler put it, take the edge off the harshness.
Measures could include easing the restrictions on school uniforms to save parents money, and providing people with advice on how to manage reduced budgets.Reduced budget? Spend less on booze, fags and Sky subscriptions. Sorted!
Mr Rees said: "This is evidence that what this uncaring, vicious Government is doing, hitting the poorest and most vulnerable in our communities.
"Where they think people are going to find work I just don't understand."Here we go. This might help.