THE Labour Government must give support to ‘frontline’ local authorities to help those in need, say Plaid Cymru.
Carmarthen Council Leader and the Party’s Spokesperson in the WLGA Cllr Emlyn Dole, and the Party’s Shadow Local Government Minister, Delyth Jewell AM, have written to the Welsh Government saying that Plaid Cymru authorities want to offer council tax relief, but require assurances of support from the Welsh Government.
In the letter, they set out that Plaid Cymru councils want the flexibility to:
Bring forward the annual council tax break to the beginning of the 2020-21 financial year, from March-April 2021, for people who pay in ten instalments
Offer a deferred payment scheme for those who need it
Expand council tax benefit for at least 3 months to anyone with an underlying health condition that requires them to self-isolate if they are self-employed or can’t work from home and lose income as a result.
To do this councils need further up-front funding from the Labour Welsh Government and assurances that they will be supported if they encounter cashflow issues in future.
The Labour Welsh Government has only announced an extra £30million for authorities to cope with the crisis, but much of this has already been ringfenced for support for the homeless and free school meals. It leaves only £13million in additional support for Wales 22 local authorities.
The Cllr and Shadow Spokesperson have called for a range of support to be offered to local Government, including…
Delyth Jewell AM said:
“Local authorities are on the front line of fighting this virus, they need the confidence that they can invest in the services and support people in need. The only people that can give them that confidence is the Welsh Government.
“Plaid local authorities want to be able to offer support like council tax holidays now, to the people that need them. We have a plan, we can do more, we just need the Government to step-up.
“These are unprecedented times, that call for unprecedented measures. Local government is working flat-out to help support our communities and with a little more help, they can do a lot for those in need.”
The Leader of Carmarthenshire Council and Plaid Cymru’s Council Group WLGA representative Emlyn Dole said:
“Councils are doing everything we can to help and here in Carmarthenshire we’ve been ensuring care for children and the elderly, arranging food supplies for people who use food banks and supporting the health board to prepare for the coming weeks.
“There’s more we’d like to do as a council to support people, for example giving council tax relief for people to are losing income as a result of having to self-isolate and being unable to work from home.
“But in order to be able to do this we need more support from the Welsh Government.
“I’m therefore calling on them to please give us the resources we need as soon as possible by brining Revenue Support Grant payments forward, give us additional funds to deal with coronavirus and assuring us they’ll underwrite any additional expenditure we may have to make because of the virus.”