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A motion calling on Caerphilly County Borough Council to reopen day care centres on a full-time basis has been rejected.

Currently, day care centres are operating on a limited basis due to Covid restrictions currently in place, which has drawn fierce criticism from carers and opposition parties.

Carers have called for day centres to operate as they did before the pandemic, but the council has said this is not possible because the service users are vulnerable to Covid.

Three versions of Plaid Cymru’s motion were proposed at the council’s social services scrutiny committee meeting, held on Monday November 1.

The first motion included an amendment by Councillor Kevin Etheridge, leader of the Independent Group. He called for the addition of a cross-party task and finish group to tackle the issue.

The second motion removed comments about council officers from the original motion, and finally Plaid Cymru’s original motion calling for day centres to revert back to their original opening hours was also proposed. All three were rejected.

Prior to the vote, Plaid Cymru group leader, Cllr Colin Mann, said: “I have spoken to carers who are seriously considering putting their children into residential care.

“This is not a five-day a week job, they have very little respite. A lifeline for carers has been taken away.”

But the Labour cabinet member for social services, Cllr Shayne Cook, urged councillors not to vote for the motion, saying it could cause an increase in Covid cases.

In the meeting, Plaid Cymru councillor Charlotte Bishop asked: “Wouldn’t service users be better protected within the day centres than in the community, in cafes and shops? Surely with cases rising this is also an issue?”

Dave Street, acting Chief Executive and Director of Social Services defended council officers, who are working towards the challenge of “modernising” day centres.

Plaid Cymru councillor Steve Skivens said: “I do not think anybody belittles the impact on officers, but the impact on family and carers is tremendous. I do not think we should lose sight of that.”

Cllr Cook accused the Plaid Cymru group of using day centres for political gain.

But Cllr Mann said: “It is not meant to be party political. I recognise in some ways the situation has moved on.”

Cllr Mann said he welcomed the fact that the council is going to conduct another public consultation, after the first one was widely criticised by carers.

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