FINANCIAL support will continue for specific costs relating to the Covid-19 pandemic for the next six months at least, councillors have been told.
Chief executive, Dr Caroline Turner, told councillors at their meeting on Friday, March 19, the”very good news” that Powys County Council (PCC) will continue to receive funding from the Welsh Government’s Local Government Covid Hardship Fund.
So far, PCC has received over £12 million from this fund to cover the pandemic costs incurred by the authority.
With coronavirus case rates falling in Powys, Dr Turner warned councillors of the need to “remain cautious.”
Dr Turner said: “Whilst we are doing well with Test, Trace and Protect (TTP) and with the vaccination programme we must remain cautious until most if not all of us are vaccinated and that will take time.”
“We are now well below the Welsh average however, there are some worrying trends elsewhere in Wales including neighbouring local authorities.
“The incidence of covid are worryingly high in Merthyr Tydfil, and in recent days have also been increasing in Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea.”
As the council emerges from lockdown, Dr Turner said that they would concentrate on three main strands of work.
These would be: restarting services that have been mothballed during the pandemic, looking at new ways of working for councillors and office based staff, as well as helping re-open the local economy.
They will also be receiving support from the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) and Local Government Association programme of recovery.
“Our plans are at a very early stage and we will share and seek the views of members and staff, ensuring that we work with cabinet, group leaders and scrutiny,” said Dr Turner.
At the meeting it was revealed that a senior councillor and former Chairman of the Health and Care scrutiny committee, Cllr Gwilym Willams (Disserth and Trecoed) had recently suffered from coronavirus and had been hospitalised for a period.
Council Chairman, Cllr Gwynfor Thomas, (Llansantffraid – Conservative) said: “I would like to welcome Cllr Gwilym back to our meeting, I understand you and your family have had a very difficult time with covid.
“It’s great to see you on the mend and back with us today,”
Cllr Williams has recently left the Conservative Group and joined the Action for Powys as he was unhappy with the Council Tax rise.
Cllr Williams, said: “I had it and gave it to my wife and son.”
With the lambing season in full flow, the illness could not have hit farmer Cllr Williams, and his family at a worse time.
Cllr Williams: “Thankfully my other son and daughter helped with some of the lambing, but the only thing I can tell you is, don’t get the virus as it’s not good.”