Delyth Jewell writes to the First Minister to ask that Welsh Government transfers funds to local authorities to prevent them from running out of money
Councils could run out of money in the middle of the coronavirus crisis unless the Welsh Government makes immediate plans to transfer emergency funds to them, according to Plaid Cymru’s local government spokesperson Delyth Jewell AM.
She has written to the First Minister to ask that the Welsh Government makes use of the almost limitless financial powers provisions included in the Coronavirus Bill to transfer funds to councils once the Bill has received Royal Assent next week.
Delyth Jewell AM said:
“Councils will be at the front line in terms of delivering essential services during this time of crisis.
“They will face increased costs due to needing to provide additional services for children, the elderly and coronavirus sufferers who will need to be cared for in the community, while suffering a loss of income at the same time.
“I fear that unless the Welsh Government provides them with the funding they need then they could run out of money which would severely curtail their ability to provide services.
“The powers contained within the Coronavirus Bill are so broad as to allow Welsh Minister to transfer the Revenue Support Grant to councils as an advance payment, as well as including additional funding to cover the increased costs.”
The Leader of Carmarthenshire Council and Plaid Cymru’s WLGA Group Leader Emlyn Dole added:
“Local government will act as the fourth emergency service as society braces for the impact of the coronavirus.
“In order to fulfil our duties and provide the important services that we are responsible for, we will need adequate funding.
“This is not a time for vague verbal promises that we’ve hear so far that we’ll be paid back in the future, we need the money upfront and we need it now.
“The Welsh Government should transfer local authority funds as soon as possible and include a coronavirus emergency payment to cover the substantial additional costs that we are about to face.”