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Council is getting a fair share of Covid-19 cash

Created on 30/10/2020 @ 12:13
Assurances have been given to Powys County Council that it is getting a fair share of money from the Welsh Government to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The question of whether the authority was getting enough money from the  government’s Local Authority Hardship Fund was answered at a meeting of PCC’s Finance Panel.

A report which looks at the 2020/21 budget at the the end of September, the half way stage of the financial year, was in front of the members for discussion.

The report says that PCC has so far received  £6 million from the hardship fund which is worth £500 million.

This money goes towards the increased costs of Social Care, Homelessness, Free School Meals, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and the mortuary facility near Builth Wells.

Finance Panel Chairman and Independent member, John Brautigam, said: “Out of £500 million we’ve only claimed £6 million that doesn’t seem  to be a high proportion of the total.”

Head of Finance, Jane Thomas, answered: “I think the shows the different sizes of council and the different position they find themselves in, as a result of the pandemic.”

Ms Thomas said that from her perspective the extra costs incurred across all councils were being picked up in a “pragmatic way.”

She gave the example of the costs of setting up council staff to work from home.

Ms Thomas explained that some local authorities had to sort this out quickly at the start of the pandemic incurring extra costs, whereas, PCC  already had a well established home working system.

“We were up and running on day one with nearly all of our staff working from home,” said Ms Thomas.

She explained that at hardship fund panel meetings, decisions are made as to what qualifies for support.

On working from home, the panel considered that some local authorities had “put the funding in themselves over many years.”

This meant that the IT funding was only given, up to a point.

Ms Thomas said: “As long as we’re getting what we need, I think in terms of what’s being allocated to each council is not a major concern for us.”

Mr Brautigam, added: “We’re getting our fair share?”

“Yes,” replied Ms Thomas.

A claim for £1.5 million in loss of income from April to June has been submitted to the Welsh Government.

A claim for loss of income from July to September needs to be sent to the Welsh Government by early November.

This is to cover the losses from collecting money for, car parking, licence, planning fees as well as rents, bus revenue and leisure centres payments. car parking, waste services, cultural services and school meals during 2020/21.

The report will go on to be discussed by the Cabinet at their meeting on Tuesday, November 3.


By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporting Service