NEIL Hamilton, MS for Mid & West Wales has welcomed news of a multi-million support package to help cash strapped local authorities.
Mr Hamilton was commenting after it was announced more than £260 million was being made available to help councils as they struggle in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am delighted to see this extra money being made available as this continues to be an extremely difficult time for local authorities across Wales.
“Not only are they having to deal with increased costs due to COVID–19 but are having to do this against the backdrop of many years being seriously underfunded by the Welsh Labour Government.
“Councils have done a great juggling job as they try and ensure that essential services for residents are maintained, despite the lack of finance. When COVID came along they had to divert resources to deal with the impact so news of this additional funding is welcome indeed and is long overdue.”
The extra funding will help cover increased costs, manage the loss of income pressures, and will fund additional cleaning requirements for schools in response to the coronavirus crisis.
With the real possibility of further peaks during the autumn and winter months, this investment will provide local authorities with the confidence to prepare their budgets for a potential second wave. The funds will be allocated on the basis of a claim.
The Welsh Local Government Association has also welcomed the additional £260m support package for extra local government funding to meet the additional costs and pressures of the COVID 19 response.
The WLGA, working with authorities, has been engaged in detailed discussions with Ministers and has provided evidence of significant funding pressures caused by the loss of income and additional costs in responding to the pandemic.
WLGA Leader, Cllr Andrew Morgan said:
“The Welsh Government’s announcement is welcome and provides some much needed financial certainty for councils for the remainder of the financial year.
“The package announced brings the total amount of funding to nearly £0.5bn for this financial year. While no one can guess the future path of Covid-19, this guarantee is a significant contribution against the continued fight against the virus and provides a bulwark against any resurgence in the coming months.
“Local authorities need additional funding to prepare for the return of schools and to keep people safe in care homes. Without this funding, councils would have to take measures in anticipation of future funding shortfalls. This package means that vital local services can continue to support our communities through this crisis and contribute to the national recovery.”