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DURING the first three months of the year Powys County Council (PCC) received just under £300,000 from the UK Government to cover wages of staff put on furlough leave.

The 2020/21 Quarter four report shows that 210 members of staff were put onto the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which saw the authority claim £299,552.23.

The report shows that number of staff put on furlough went up to 85 during the third quarter of 2020/21 from October to December.

Under the government job retention scheme pays workers 80 per-cent of their wages up to £2,500.

It was expected that employers would pay the remaining 20 per-cent of the wage.

Last year, councillors were given assurances from PCC chief executive, Dr Caroline Turner that the workers put on the scheme would receive their full wages.

The decision to put staff on furlough was taken a year ago as the authority looked to shore up its finances in the expectation it would lose £3.35 million a month, as a worst-case scenario during the pandemic.

Claims have been made up to £14.5 million form the Welsh Government’s Coronavirus Hardship Fund covering the 2020/21 year up to February.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was announced on 20 March 2020 and has supported employers in paying their employees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The scheme has now been extended to the end of September.

But from the end of June 2021, some changes will be taking place with the support from the UK Government dropping with the expectation that employers pay more.

Until the end of September the minimum amount a furloughed member of staff receives will still be 80 per cent of the regular salary up to £2,500 a month, but the way this is divided will change.

In July the UK Government support drops to 70 per cent of wages up to £2,187.50 with employers expected to contribute the 10 per cent up to £312.50, National Insurance and pension contributions.

In August and September, the UK Government contribution drops to 60 per cent of up to £1,875 with employers expected to make up the difference of, up to £625, National Insurance and pension contributions.

At their last meeting the cabinet approved the report and council leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris said it was an “outstanding report given the year we’ve had”.


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