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THE leader of Carmarthenshire Council has called for clarity about which coronavirus-related costs the authority can reclaim.

Cllr Emlyn Dole said all its costs had been submitted to the Welsh Government on time and that the authority was grateful for those which had been repaid.

But, speaking at an executive board meeting on September 21, Cllr Dole asked for a clearer financial picture.

He said detail was still lacking about which costs were eligible and which were not.

“I would make an appeal for that clarity as quickly as possible,” said the Plaid Cymru leader on the council.

Councils across the UK have spent a lot of money tackling the pandemic and have also seen income reduce for things car parks and leisure centres.

The Welsh Government has announced nearly half a billion of support for Wales’s 22 councils.

Carmarthenshire Council is expecting to be £7.4 million in the red at the end of the 2020-21 financial year, based on data from April 1 to June 30.

The executive board was told this figure could change, and that it was anticipated that services would gradually return to normal.

But the report before members said: “Specifically, no provision is made for additional costs or further loss of income from either a localised lockdown or second wave over the winter months.”

The report also has no allowance for the “marked reduction” in council tax income.

The environment department is forecasting a £2.4 million overspend, mainly due to lost car parking income.

The department for education and children is anticipating a £3.5 million deficit, with £850,000 of this sum additional school cleaning costs.

Staff vacancies are partially offsetting the projected overspend.

Cllr Glynog Davies, who has the education portfolio, said the extra school cleaning costs were essential to help ensure the safety of pupils and staff.

“There was no choice,” he said.

Meanwhile, adult social care costs are also high.

Cllr David Jenkins, the executive board member for resources, said he was in regular contact with the director of corporate services about the finances.

“Therefore I can assure members that the ongoing, prudential financial management of the authority will stand us in good stead both in terms of what we have gone through and what may still be to come,” said Cllr Jenkins.

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