SWANSEA Council is set to spend an extra £21m supporting vital Covid-19 services in the coming year, a new report to Cabinet next week suggests.
Although the Welsh Government alert level is set at zero and communities are adjusting to changes as the country emerges from the pandemic, the council will still be investing in supporting people affected by the virus.
According to a report going to Cabinet on September 16, the council’s finances are in a strong position to deal with the uncertainties ahead in the aftermath of Covid-19, Brexit and other inflationary pressures.
But it will still be spending heavily side-by-side with health services and other agencies supporting residents affected by Covid-19 through the coming year.
It’s expected social care services will need to spend an extra £11.4m dealing with Covid-19 pressures with a further £5m in education and £5.3m on services elsewhere in the council. The costs are expected to be recouped from Welsh Government.
Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: “Throughout the pandemic and today – when we can all see rising numbers of positive Covid-19 cases – the council has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with local people supporting them through it.
“This latest report to Cabinet demonstrates that despite all the pressures, the support we’ve given to the NHS to help keep people safe and the £200m we’ve spent dealing with Covid-19 in the last year, we are in a strong financial position to weather the challenges ahead.
“The aftermath of Brexit is having an impact, inflation and the continuing rise in demand for vital council services, particularly in adult social care are all financial pressures we continue to face.
“We’ve transformed council services over the last 18 months to make sure the bins are still collected, potholes continue to be repaired and our children continue to get the education and other support they deserve.
“Key projects that will make a huge difference to our city in the years ahead like the Copr Bay programme and Swansea arena are still making great progress.
“We are determined that residents will continue to get the right services at the right time and in the right way and it’s prudent financial management of our resources over these last months that enables it to happen.”
In addition to the extra spending on Covid-related support the council has also created a £20m recovery fund.
It is being spent support residents and businesses in the aftermath of the pandemic on initiatives ranging from new play areas at parks all around the city, the hugely-successful summer #FreeRideSwansea bus offer and freezing the cost of school meals for the current school year.
The Revenue and Capital report to Cabinet is a snapshot of the council’s financial performance in the first quarter of the current financial year.
It highlights how the council will be spending almost £500m on services in the coming year and some of the major capital spending taking place. This includes more than £3.8m invested in the first quarter on four school projects at Bishopston Comprehensive, YG Gwyr and two new-builds for YGG Tan-y-Lan and YGG Tirdeunaw.
In addition to that £6.7m has been spent in the last three months on improving council homes with new kitchens and bathrooms, boiler and heating upgrades and on developing new council houses in city communities.