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Saturday, October 17, 2020

County calls for urgent information ahead of circuit breaker announcement

Denbighshire County Council has called on Welsh Government to provide urgent information to local authorities before a public announcement on the circuit breaker is made early next week.

The council’s cabinet has provided feedback to the Welsh Government via the Welsh Local Government Association, calling for guidance to be provided to the public and councils on the conditions of the lockdown - which businesses, premises and council services would be allowed to remain open and clarification on individual movement and households mixing.

Cabinet had also called for a clear commitment and description of the support package that will be available to businesses and the self- employed and "robust" guidance to local authorities on eligibility, administration and funding arrangements.  

This, they say, should include a furlough scheme at least equivalent to the ‘flexible furlough’ scheme due to cease at the end of this month 

The council had also asked for a commitment to fully reimburse local authorities for income loss and additional costs incurred resulting from implementing Welsh Government’s lockdown, with the ability to negotiate on the nature and level of these additional costs as they are determined.

Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, Leader of Denbighshire, said: “It’s extremely important that Welsh Government provide clear information to the public on how they come to their decision on the proposed circuit breaker and to justify the actions being proposed.  

"Residents rightly want to know the facts and figures behind the decision, what has driven the Welsh Government into making this decision. They also need clarify on how it will work and when it will end.

“We believe that the measures we have highlighted are essential to ensuring public support and business and service sustainability, not just over the lockdown period, but over the winter and in to the New Year.

“We fully recognise that something needs to be done. Doing nothing is not an option. However, we are not convinced that this is the right measure at the right time,  and are concerned that the long term damage to the economy and to the mental health of residents are not being given due weight in decision making. 

“We maintain our call for greater information to help convince the public that this action is the right approach and the sensible way of trying to halt the increase in coronavirus cases."

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