County Council


Wednesday, 20 February 2019



PRESENT: Councillor J.M. Charles (Chair)



 H.I. Jones

F. Akhtar

S.M. Allen

L.R. Bowen

K.V. Broom

C.A. Campbell

D.M. Cundy

S.A. Curry

C.A. Davies

T.A.J. Davies

G. Davies

H.L. Davies

I.W. Davies

J.A. Davies

S.L. Davies

W.R.A. Davies

E. Dole

J.S. Edmunds

D.C. Evans

H.A.L. Evans

L.D. Evans

R.E. Evans

W.T. Evans

A.L. Fox

S.J.G. Gilasbey

P. Hughes-Griffiths

A.D. Harries

T.M. Higgins

J.K. Howell

A. James

J.D. James

R. James

D.M. Jenkins

J.P. Jenkins

G.H. John

C. Jones

B.W. Jones

D. Jones

G.R. Jones

T.J. Jones

A. Lenny

M.J.A. Lewis

K. Madge

S. Matthews

A.S.J. McPherson

E. Morgan

A.G. Morgan

S. Najmi

D. Nicholas

B.D.J. Phillips

D. Price

J.G. Prosser

E.M.J.G. Schiavone

H.B. Shepardson

A.D.T. Speake

L.M. Stephens

B. Thomas

D. Thomas

E.G. Thomas

G.B. Thomas

G. Thomas

J. Tremlett

A.Vaughan Owen

D.T. Williams

D.E. Williams

J.E. Williams




Also Present:

M. James, Chief Executive

J. Morgan, Director of Community Services

C. Moore, Director of Corporate Services

Mrs R. Mullen, Director of Environment

G. Morgans, Director of Education & Children's Services

W. Walters, Director of Regeneration & Policy

L.R. Jones, Head of Administration and Law

P.R. Thomas, Assistant Chief Executive (People Management & Performance)

J. Morgan, Head of Homes & Safer Communities

R. Hemingway, Head of Financial Services

A. Wood, HR Strategic Manager

L Morris, Senior Press Officer

K. Thomas, Democratic Services Officer

E. Bryer, Democratic Services Officer



Chamber, - County Hall, Carmarthen. SA31 1JP. - 10.00 am - 2.40 pm





Apologies for absence were received from Councillors P.M Edwards, P.M. Hughes, K. Lloyd, J.S. Phillips and B.A.L. Roberts.


Further apologies were received in respect of the afternoon session from Councillors A.W. Davies, I.W. Davies, J.S. Edmunds, D.C. Evans, H.I. Jones and T.J. Jones.








Minute Number

Nature of Interest

J. Edmunds

9.3 – Housing Revenue Account Budget 2019/20 to 2021/22 and Housing Rent Setting for 2019/20.

Is a Private Landlord.

H.A.L. Evans

8 – Building More Homes – Increasing Our Ambition.

Sister is the Chief Executive of Bro Myrddin Housing Association.

H.A.L. Evans

9.3 – Housing Revenue Account Budget 2019/20 to 2021/22 and Housing Rent Setting for 2019/20.

Sister is the Chief Executive of Bro Myrddin Housing Association.

K. Madge

9.1 – Revenue Budget Strategy 2019/20 to 2021/22.

Daughter works in Social Care.






·         The Chair referred to the recent announcement of the Urdd 2021 Eisteddfod being hosted by Llandovery and extended his appreciation to local residents at the forefront of welcoming the event and wished them well with the arrangements;

·         The Chair referred to his recent visits to three residents of the County on the occasion of their 100th birthdays;

·         The Chair referred to his recent visits to:-

-       The old railway station in Login which had been adapted to a food and visitor attraction and the soon to be opened museum of railway exhibits. The village was also campaigning to make the old railway line a path suitable for walkers and cyclists;

-       The opening of the first part of the Towy Valley Cycle Path from Abergwili to Fronun in Whitemill;

-       The opening of the new Ysgol Gymraeg Parc y Tywyn;

-       Ysgol Griffith Jones where the baton of St Clears and surrounding Dementia Friendly Group was handed over to Carmarthen and Llandeilo;

-       Llanelli Rotary Club public speaking competition;

-       Duke of Edinburgh Awards in Johnstown;

-       Carmarthen Town Sports Awards Evening;

-       Carmarthenshire County Council’s Actif 2018 sports awards in Llanelli where Dewi Griffiths, the runner from Llanfynydd, was awarded the Sports Personality of the year.

·         The Chair extended his condolences to the sons and family of the late Pam Edmunds, a former County Councillor for the Elli Ward for a number of years

·         Congratulations were extended to Iestyn Rees of Bryn Road, Penygroes on being chosen to the Wales Under 20 Rugby Team


In addition, Council was advised of Jack Morgan from Brynamman who had played for the Wales Under 20’s team against both France and Italy and, hopefully, would be chosen for the forthcoming match against England.

·         The Chair referred to the announcement by Mr Mark James, the Council’s Chief Executive, of his intention to leave his post in the summer and that the Council would have the opportunity to officially bid him farewell in a few months,






UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on the 9th January, 2019 be signed as a correct record.




5.            QUESTIONS BY MEMBERS:-






“The Welsh Government has been recently criticised by the Road Haulage Association for the delays in implementing its Transport Strategy, in particular the M4 relief road in Newport. Do you think that this failure to improve the links East – West is having a detrimental effect on the Carmarthenshire economy? What would you say to Mark Drakeford First Minister about this?”


Response by Councillor Emlyn Dole, Leader of the Council:


Yes, I do think that this failure to improve the links East-West is having a detrimental effect on the economy here in Carmarthenshire and I would urge the First Minister to resolve that issue as soon as possible. An independent public inquiry, established by current Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates, into the proposed relief road came to an end last summer and I understand that the Inspector's report is now with senior civil servants. They are currently preparing the advice that will go on to ministers. Hopefully, the Welsh Government will soon set out a clear timetable of what happens next, but that’s wholly dependent on the report's recommendation as to whether the scheme should progress. If the decision is made to go ahead with the project, I’m told that construction could start in the autumn but would still take five years to complete. However, Labour AM Lee Waters has predicted that a decision to proceed could be open to legal challenge, so the wrangles could continue.


Anyone who has driven along the M4 will be aware of the desperate need to relieve congestion on the current route. It’s particularly bad to the north of Newport, where it narrows to just two lanes at the Brynglas tunnels. And nearly everyone agrees that a new M4 relief road will boost the economy by improving access for people and goods in and out of South and West Wales. The Economist Stephen Bussell, an Associate at Ove Arup and Partners Ltd, told the inquiry the wider impact of the scheme to Wales and the UK was worth over £2bn. He suggested that the cost of investment would be more than offset by the improvements in transport, economic efficiency, safety and carbon emissions. Journey times would be reduced, bringing particular benefits to logistics firms and ‘just in time operations’ who currently face regular disruption and associated costs alongside. But all of this has been known for the best part of 30 years. The Welsh Government wants to build a new 14 mile (23km) six-lane stretch of motorway south of Newport that would include a bridge across the River Usk, as well as major remodelling of junctions 23 and 29 on the M4. 


In July 2014 Edwina Hart, who was then Economy Minister, gave it the go-ahead after agreement between the Welsh and UK Governments over how to fund it. There were three possible routes discussed - and it was the so-called black route that won the backing of the Welsh Government. Subsequently, a cheaper fourth route was proposed by transport expert Professor Stuart Cole, Emeritus Professor of Transport at the Wales Transport Research Centre at the University of Glamorgan Business School. This was dubbed the blue route and would involve an upgrade of the A48 Newport Southern Distributor Road and the former steelworks road as well. This is the route that we in Plaid Cymru favour. Not only is it cheaper, but it would also avoid the huge environmental impact of the black route. My Plaid Cymru colleagues in the National Assembly have long argued that the money saved by choosing the Blue Route should be then invested in other forms of transport and particularly in the upgrading of the South and West Wales rail infrastructure.  


By coincidence, I wrote to Ken Skates just last week to lend my support to the proposed development of a new parkway station to serve the Swansea Bay urban area and West Wales. I told him how important the proposals could be for improved transport links to West Wales and beyond. It could provide an opportunity to tackle the undisputed barriers to economic growth that exist here in West Wales. We need to be able to develop the higher value sectors and higher value employment opportunities to match. We want to increase the number of businesses within these sectors to widen the economic base whilst improving the region’s GVA level against the UK average. There are aspirations that we share across the four local authorities that make up the Swansea Bay region. An improved rail infrastructure for the whole of West Wales can be a benefit to us all, including the residents of Llandeilo.


So quite simply my message to Mark Drakeford would be to get this sorted out, and sorted out as soon as possible. The overwhelming weight of evidence suggests that the economy of West Wales desperately needs better transport links and any further delays could have such a disastrous effect on our ambitions to create a new prosperity for our residents here in Carmarthenshire.


Supplementary Question by Councillor Edward Thomas:


Thank you, Emlyn, for this comprehensive reply and the detail you have given us. Just when you are speaking to the First Minister will you please remind him that a decision is yet to be made on the strategic road improvement for Llandeilo and the pollution that is affecting the centre of Llandeilo and causing health problems to the children and the older people of Llandeilo? So if you could please remind him about that because I don’t think Ken Skates and his Deputy pay particular attention to the letters that people of Llandeilo write to him.


Response by Councillor Emlyn Dole, Leader of the Council:


Yes, I will






“Could Council please be given an update as to the progress made, actions undertaken and agreements entered into with Hywel Dda Health Board in establishing a truly integrated community care service throughout the area? Could Council also be informed as to the anticipated timetable for its establishment?”


Response by Councillor Jane Tremlett, Executive Board Member for Social Care and Health

Thank you for the question. As you know for some time we have had an integrated structure based on the three localities for older people. We share a head of service for older people with the health board and a head of commissioning with Pembrokeshire. Over the last 6 months progress has been slow although we have maintained a positive working relationship with Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and the Health board. I can report progress in the following areas:


- There is now a consensus across the region that community health and social care should be organised by 7 localities across the region.


- A transformation bid has been developed by the regional partnership and positively received by Welsh Government although we are still awaiting formal agreement.


- The chief Executives of the 4 regional organisations have agreed a broad approach to reforming and strengthening the regional partnership and we hope to have formal agreement for new strengthened arrangements signed off by the end of March.


Progress has, however, been particularly slow on agreeing the detail of the structures that will need to be put in place to deliver the integrated offer of primary and social care. In particular, there is yet to be a common understanding as to how localities will relate to GP clusters and what specific services would be delivered at locality, county and regional levels. Indeed, in the last year some health services such as therapies have been centralised in the region.


As a council we are clear we wish to progress rapidly and remain optimistic that our good working relationship will translate into practical proposals and a clear timetable for implementation over the coming year. 


Supplementary Question by Councillor Gareth John:


“Thank you for that response of which there were several positive elements. The Minister for Health and Social Care told Assembly members yesterday that even with Transformation Fund there’s still much to do on bridging gaps connecting, streamlining and reshaping how people access health care. He also expressed the critical role that the Regional Partnership Boards have in making this happen as they are the mechanism for the leaders of health and social care to work together with others to plan and deliver services and meet the needs of their local populations. He went on to add that he had begun to see change and improved relationships across health and social care with a greater sense of shared ambition. Given the huge cultural and organisational differences between the NHS and Local Government, Hywel Dda’s track record in partnership to-date and that their strategic capacity is totally focussed on keeping acute services going, balancing its budget and finding a field somewhere between St Clears and Narbeth, would you be able to confirm the Minister’s optimism that our regional partnership board, in its current format, will deliver the goods?


Response by Councillor Jane Tremlett, executive Board Member for Health and Social Care:-

I think, knowing the amount of work that has gone on over the past year, or so, I’m going to hand over to the Director to give you some good news.


Response by the Director of Communities:

I guess we’ve always got to be optimistic. These are really hard miles to make this work and it’s something the whole of the U.K. has tried to work on and have tried to battle. So I think I’d be optimistic but, I’d put the word cautious before it. So I’d be cautiously optimistic. The Partnership Boards were formed for one purpose. They’ve now been used as a vehicle for a much bigger change. As the Lead Member has said, we’re working with our health partners and neighbouring authorities to go some-way to reforming that to making the governance fit for purpose to deliver pooled budgets of circa £100m, fully integrate health and social care. Huge reform which has to have a balance between dynamic executive leadership and political oversight. And therein lies the challenge to get the governance right and to reform the partnership boards to be fit for purpose to deliver. So, optimistic, yes, but cautiously optimistic, because as you know, I’ve been at this a very long time. Relationships are good and there’s a willingness. But to say we were there yet, would be a significant overstatement.  




6.            PUBLIC QUESTIONS.






“The effects of climate change are being felt in Carmarthenshire, last year we had flooding that caused homelessness, damage and death. What are the council putting in place to ensure my future, living, working and raising a family in Carmarthen is safe.”


Response by Councillor Emlyn Dole, Leader of the Council:-


Can I first of all thank Coral Sylvan for raising this question with us. Before I answer this question, I want to thank, not only for the question, but to thank Coral for coming here this morning, because I think she’s breaking new ground in the history of Carmarthenshire County Council. I don’t think we’ve had somebody as young as eleven years old coming here before to challenge us with a question, which is challenging, and which is asking us to consider the future in the context of her generation. I’m not surprised if we we’re listening to a leader of the council for the future. I think that its’ great to welcome you here formally to the Chamber and to respond to a question which does require our attention as councillors, as a county council and as local authorities across Wales.


For years we’ve heard that young people seem to be taking no interest in politics and the world around them.  Well, there are signs that things are changing. I was told by somebody who I enjoyed back in the seventy’s, Bob Dylan, that times they are a-changing. And they are. They are changing in terms of the youngsters who are willing to stand up and to be counted and to ask the right and the pertinent questions, and to hear that there’s an interest in politics and the world around us is very heartening indeed.


I’m sitting right opposite the Director of Education and I’m sure you won’t agree with me here but I was pretty impressed that pupils from around the UK went "on strike" last Friday as part of a global campaign for action on climate change. Do you know what, I was driving home last Friday evening. I was on the A48 and nearly caused an accident because I was listening to the news about the strike, the effects and people talking about that and they quoted a spokesman from the Department of Education at the U.K. Government who said, and that’s why I nearly crashed, term time leave should only be granted in exceptional circumstances, and I thought to myself, when I recovered the steering, how about the future of the planet, how exceptional is that?. I guess that’s pretty exceptional for us all.  


Students around the country walked out of schools to call on the government to declare a climate emergency and take action and active steps to tackle that problem. Protests took place in more than 60 towns and cities across the U.K. with an estimated 15,000 students taking part. They carried placards, some reading: "There is no planet B." It’s so important that young people are allowed to have their say and that they take a keen interest in the world around them. On the specific question that you asked, I can tell you that since the flooding that you speak of, the County Council has asked for an assessment of what exactly happened across our county towards the end of last year. We want to establish clearly and exactly what our future priorities should be in that context.


Scientific evidence paints a very clear picture: Climate change is happening, it’s caused in large by human activity, and it will have many serious and potentially damaging effects in the decades ahead. Now, I’m not a scientist nor, am I scientifically minded but I do know that Darwin when he published the ‘Origin of Species’ he actually borrowed some stuff from a very eminent Welshman, Alfred Russel Wallace, who’d already published his theory of evolution on natural selection. Some have called it the survival of the fittest and, in that context, it’s strange to think that here we are discussing the future of the planet as that species in the context of natural selection, when you thought that we would have taken that opportunity to behave responsibly and judiciously, given our place in that system and seen it as a chance and opportunity to behave responsibly. Unfortunately, we seem to have taken it as a licence to destroy and to pollute. That evidence is clear with the scientists. There will be potentially damaging effects in the decades ahead. Greenhouse gas emissions from cars, from power plants and other man-made sources as you know rather than natural variations in climate are the primary cause, whatever Donald Trump says. These emissions include carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas which has reached a concentration level in our atmosphere that the Earth hasn’t seen for more than 400,000 years. These greenhouse gases act like a blanket, trapping the sun’s warmth near the earth’s surface, and affecting the planet’s climate system because of that.


Here in Carmarthenshire, we need to decide what adaptations we need to make to meet the challenge of that changing climate.


We’ve recently teamed up with other organisations in this part of the world to set up, I think an important project that’s been given the snappy title: ‘Severe Weather Assessment: local experiences and future priorities’’.  It’s being led by Natural Resources Wales and will cover the counties of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Powys – that’s almost half the land mass of Wales.


The results would be used to inform, to engage and educate the public and to make recommendations for transport, for housing, for flood, for environmental, waste & other policies here in Carmarthenshire and in our neighbouring authorities.


We’ll be reviewing the effects of recent and past major weather events using information supplied by organisations that work in the public sector such as the police, the fire brigade and the health service to name but a few.


We have to come to terms with the fact that dramatic floods like the ones we experienced in October are going happen more frequently, but we also need to decide how best to cope with them.  There will be communities throughout the county that are more vulnerable than others to high tides and to flooding rivers.  They need to be identified and we all need to know how best to look after the welfare of the people who live there. 


Over the next few months a lot of evidence will be pulled together by individuals and organisations so that we can better prepare for the climate changes in years to come.


Local authorities are the real trailblazers in the fight against climate change. Even the United Nations estimate that local authorities across the world, like Carmarthenshire, are responsible for more than 70% of climate change reduction measures. For local leaders like myself, better air quality, lower energy costs, improved transport systems and green growth makes both political and economic sense.


You’ve already heard me mention the importance of improved rail transport and the opportunity of taking more and more freight off our roads and in a few minutes’ time you’ll hear us discuss a proposal from one of our councillors, Aled Vaughn Owen.  More than most of us, Aled recognises that there must be change, and in his notice of motion he’ll be asking us to make Carmarthenshire a net zero carbon local authority by 2030. 


I’ve spoken a lot about the plans we have for the future and the changes that we have to make.  But I should also tell you a little about the things we’ve already put in place.


About six months ago, one of our youngest councillors, Councillor Liam Bowen, submitted a notice of motion to this council requesting that we join Ceredigion Council in creating and supporting plastic-free schemes across the County.  These Plastic Free campaigns stem from a wider Surfers Against Sewage “Plastic Free Coastlines” campaign against single-use plastics, that we’re already very aware of thanks to the great work that’s been undertaken in that context by David Attenborough. The plastics we use once and throw away, such as plastic cutlery, drinks bottles and polystyrene takeaway boxes.  He asked the council to firstly reduce single-use plastics in Council buildings and offices including banning plastic cups and straws.  He also asked us to encourage businesses, organisations, schools and local communities to stop using single-use plastics and to start to use sustainable materials.  He wanted us to promote the use of sustainable materials instead of single-use plastics at all events that are supported by the Council.  And finally, we were asked to support beach cleans and any other events designed to raise awareness of issues relating to single-use plastics under those "plastic free” schemes.


You won’t be surprised to learn that he received the unanimous support of this Council


We already have a policy of integrating low and zero carbon technologies into major building works projects such as the PV installations at Ysgol Bro Dinefwr and Ysgol Carreg Hirfaen. We also delivered the first fully accredited Passivhaus school building in Wales at Burry Port


The council has taken delivery also of 28 new refuse or rubbish lorries; costing around £4million.  They provide a more efficient service to residents and also help to increase the county’s recycling rate.   They have a separate compartment to keep food waste separate from blue and black bags.  All our new vehicles are equipped with the latest emission technology making Carmarthenshire`s vehicle fleet the most modern, emission friendly fleet in Wales, if not the whole of the UK


The Council has developed safe walking and safe cycling routes through Safe routes in the Community and Safe Routes to Schools investment to encourage more sustainable travel. That work is complimented by our Road Safety teams who work with schools to promote initiatives such as the “walking bus” and our wide road safety programme.


The Environment Department has converted much of our street lighting to LED units in a bid to reduce energy costs as well as CO² emissions.


Carmarthenshire was the first Council in Wales to introduce electric pool car vehicles around seven years ago. We’ve recently secured funding for plug-in chargers following an increase in electric vehicle sales.  These fast chargers will enhance our current provision in Carmarthenshire, and offer motorists a more accessible service. We’ll be looking at installing more of these points across the county to meet the growing demand for electric and plug-in hybrid cars.


Last year, the council also won a prestigious national award for a wildlife conservation project.  The project won first prize in the Excellence in Planning for Natural Environment category at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Awards for Planning Excellence 2018 held at a ceremony in London.  These days conservation quite rightly plays an integral part in the planning process.


There’s so much more that I could tell you and even then there’s so much more that we can do again in the future. That will be part of the next discussion that I’m sure you’ll stay with us Coral to listen to. Carmarthenshire, we like to think has always been at the vanguard of social cohesion and change. This administration has no reason to back away from that in any way, but to support that for the future. I would also add for information to all councillors that Coral has sent me a link to a document, a petition, to be signed because they are taking this campaign not only to local authorities but to Welsh Government to ask them to sign up to the national climate emergency measures in Cardiff. They need 5,000 signatures before Welsh Government will listen or, accept that petition. At the moment, I think it’s about 1,200 but I’m sending that link to all 74 councillors here Coral, and thank you for the link, and I’m hoping that not only councillors will sign that petition, as that’s another 74 and officers, so that makes it nearer to 90, but they’ll also be sending that link on to residents in their own wards so that we can get to that 5,000 as quickly as we can, so you can get that petition safely in to Welsh Government.


Once again Coral, thank you very much for coming here today, for asking such a relevant question with you being so brave and the confidence that you have shown here today for the future. Thank you very much Coral.











Council considered the following Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor Aled Vaughan Owen:


“There is global consensus that climate change poses significant risk to our health, our economy, our environment, and endangers the wellbeing of future generations. Scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that we have no more than 12 years to limit a climate catastrophe and even locally, here in Carmarthenshire, we are dealing with significant challenges closely linked to a changing climate. Cities, Local Authorities and communities across Wales and the UK are becoming frustrated by governments that are unwilling to take the urgent steps needed, to deal with these issues.


Humanities’ future depends on today’s bold and brave leaders to make the necessary decisions now in order to safeguard the environment, our future and those of generations to come.


Therefore, we propose that Carmarthenshire County Council


1.    Declare a Climate Emergency

2.    Commit to making Carmarthenshire County Council a net zero carbon local authority by 2030

3.    Develop a clear plan for a route towards being net zero carbon within 12 months

4.    Call on Welsh and UK Governments to provide the necessary support and resources to enable effective carbon reductions

5.    Work with Public Services Board and Swansea Bay City Deal partners to develop exciting opportunities to deliver carbon savings

6.    Collaborate with experts from the private sector and 3rd sectors to develop innovative solutions to becoming net zero carbon.”


The Motion was duly seconded.


The proposer and seconder of the Motion were afforded the opportunity of speaking in support thereof and proceeded to outline the reasons for its submission, as set out in the Motion.


A number of statements were made in support of the Motion.


Following a vote, it was


UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the Notice of Motion be supported.






(NOTE: Councillor H.A.L. Evans had earlier declared an interest in this item)


The Council considered a report, and presentation, outlining proposals for increasing its ambition of delivering more affordable homes over the next 10 years to not only meet general and specific housing needs, but to also support the wider strategic regeneration and development priorities across the County. It was noted that the presentation addressed the following points:-


·         Social Housing – The History;

·         Delivering the CHS+;

·         Delivering 1,000 affordable Homes – 2018/19;

·         Opportunities for additional investment

·         Making the differences;

·         Council Homes 1981-2016, and the future

·         Next Steps – timeline for delivery.


Council was reminded that in 2016 it had set an ambitious target of delivering, via various means, 1,000 affordable homes by 2020, with 650 having been delivered to date. The new proposal would, via careful financial management and more borrowing capacity through the Housing Revenue Account, enable the Council to provide 900 new Council Homes to the CHS+ Standard over the next 10 years. In addition to that target, it was noted that Cartrefi Croeso, the Council’s local Housing Company, would be delivering, via a range of housing options, 500 affordable homes as an alternative to council housing.


The Head of Homes and Safer Communities advised that if the Council was to endorse the proposal, a detailed plan thereon would need to be developed and submitted to its May Meeting.




That the broad approach to deliver a 10 year programme of new Council homes be confirmed;


That a comprehensive business plan be developed and submitted to the Council in May 2019.








9.1.       REVENUE BUDGET STRATEGY 2019/20 TO 2021/22


(NOTE: Councillor K. Madge had earlier declared an interest in this item)


Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 4th February, 2019 (Minute 6 refers) had considered the revenue Budget Strategy 2019/20 to 2021/22 and made a number of recommendations, as detailed within the report of the Director of Corporate Services, for Council’s consideration.


Council received a presentation by the Executive Board Member for Resources, on behalf of the Executive Board, in which he set out the background to the budget proposals being presented to the Council for consideration.


The Executive Board Member advised that the report brought together the latest position on the Budget proposals, provided Council with the Executive Board’s recommendations and concluded with the Medium Term Financial Plan for 2019/20 to 2021/22. It also detailed the current position on the Welsh Government settlement taking account of the final figures, feedback on the consultation process and updates on growth and validation data.

He advised that the final settlement received from the Welsh Government, on the 19th December, provided additional funding when compared to the provisional settlement announced in October. As a consequence of that slightly improved figure, the Executive Board had been able to revisit some of the original Budget proposals and consider further options, including taking account of the latest pay offer and supporting demand led services that continued to be put under pressure, for example Social Care. However, whilst acknowledging the slightly improved settlement, it still remained a very challenging situation and represented a real terms reduction. Furthermore, Welsh Government had only been able to provide figures at Authority level for one year, restricting the Council’s scope in terms of forecasting its 3 year Medium Term Financial plan. That was particularly relevant having regard to the Westminster Comprehensive Spending Review to be undertaken in 2019.

He highlighted some of the salient points of the settlement, the full details of which were incorporated within the report. On an all Wales basis, the funding for Local Government had increased by 0.2%, with Carmarthenshire receiving a flat cash settlement on a like-for-like basis versus 2018-19, providing the authority with an additional £1.557m on the provisional settlement. However, that additional funding came with extra responsibilities including, changes in the rates relief scheme and funding to cover additional free school meals eligibility. 

He reported that whilst the majority of specific grants had been maintained at a cash neutral level, as was typically the case at this time of year, confirmation was still awaited on some significant grants which would support the budget plan, particularly in respect of both waste and sixth form funding. However, what was not typical, was the level of uncertainty around the teacher’s pensions funding. Although informal indications were that it would be met in full, as was proposed in England, the uncertainty posed a significant risk on the 2019/20 budget.  

The Executive Board Member advised that the Director of Corporate Services had made some adjustments to other figures within the strategy, as detailed within the report, being part of the normal routine as clearer and more information became available with the current total validation adding some £11.3m on to the budget. One of those adjustments related to the Adult Social Care budget arising from increased costs to the council following the financial collapse of Allied Healthcare, one of the Council’s service providers, and the subsequent decision to bring the service in-house. Whilst that had occurred with minimal disruption to service users, the 2019/20 budget would need to make provision for the harmonisation of employee terms and conditions, including pay scales.

He advised that the most significant validation related to the pay award offer made by the negotiating body for employers, providing for a 2% pay award plus the introduction of a new pay spine from April 2019 that consolidated some of the existing spinal points and ‘ironed out’ some of the current random gaps between pay points. As a consequence, the Council’s lowest paid staff, who were already receiving the foundation living wage, would receive a 4.9% increase.  The pay offer however, did not apply to teachers who were covered by separate national pay arrangements which had resulted in increases of up to 3.5% in September 2018 and a 2% annual budgetary provision for future years.

He advised that although the budget proposals, consulted upon in November 2018, had assumed a cash neutral settlement to schools, the Executive Board being conscious of the need to support schools wherever possible, whilst balancing the impact on other departments, was as a consequence of the additional support provided by the Welsh Government as part of the settlement, proposing that Council not only add £1.8 million of grant funding to schools, but that it add a further £0.75 million of core funding, taking the total increase to over £2.57 million.

The Executive Board Member also referred to the wide spread consultation undertaken on the budget which had provided feedback on the original proposals put forward.


He advised that as a consequence of the more positive settlement received from the Welsh Government, and after allowing for changes to validation, the sum of £528k was available to enable some critical adjustments to the budget strategy. The Executive Board was therefore recommending the following adjustments be made to the budget strategy which took account of the consultation process and responded to the feed-back from the proposals that were not supported:-

·         to remove the reduction in budget of £32k proposed for Winter Gritting. That proposal had a negative index score and could have impacted upon resident’s safety. 

·         to reduce the Rural Road Sweeping proposal down to only £100k, therefore re-establishing £186k of the budget, which would mitigate the most severe impacts.

·         to defer by one year the proposed reductions to Youth Support Services and Educational Psychology, recognising both the negative public response and concerns raised by councillors during the member seminar sessions.  

·         To provide an additional £160k to the car parking service in recognition of the contribution its makes to our thriving local economy, which would allow the service more flexibility to limit any parking charges increases across Carmarthenshire.

·         the Community’s department over the next year revisits the proposal to close the Pendine Outdoor Education Centre and tries to identify a change in service provision, which would allow the facility to continue to operate whilst providing the cost reductions proposed.

·         School meal prices be frozen for 2019/20

Finally, he referred to the fact the Executive Board had not responded to the negative sentiments received to the proposed budget reductions to highway resurfacing. He advised that was not an error, as the additional £1.5 million grant per annum for 3 years which the Council had successfully secured would more than compensate for the revenue budget reduction, with the significant increase in spend having been included within the Capital Programme.

The Executive Board Member advised that adoption of the proposals would allow the Council to deliver a fair and balanced budget that responded to the major concerns fed back from the consultation process and provided significant extra resources to critical services. If adopted, the proposals would result in a Council Tax increase of 4.89% for next year that would allow for delivery of the strategy within the report together with the above proposed amendments that provided a balanced, sustainable and viable Budget Strategy and which:


·         Responded to the consultation concerns

·         Ensured, as far as possible that service levels and standards  are maintained

·         recognised that our citizens are finding it hard in the current climate and therefore minimised, as far as possible, any increase in the council tax

·         As far as possible prepared the Authority for any future reductions in funding that may lie ahead.


He thereupon moved the recommendations of Executive Board in respect of the Budget Strategy 2019/20, a Council Tax increase of 4.89% and approval of the medium term financial plan as a basis for the future years financial planning. The proposal was duly seconded.


Whilst the Council was presented with an alternative budget proposal that was withdrawn following advice by the Council’s Section 151 officer that its adoption would result in the setting of an unlawful budget.




"that the Revenue Budget Strategy for 2019/20 be approved subject to the following amendments:-


For 2019/20:

·         The removal of the Winter Gritting budget reduction of £32k;

·         The reduction of the Rural Road Sweeping proposal by £186k mitigating against the most severe impacts;

·         The deferral of the proposed reductions to Youth Support Services and Educational Psychology, to recognise both the negative public response and concerns raised by councillors during the member seminars;

·         The car parking service be provided with an additional £160k to allow for more flexibility in the service and to limit any parking charges increases across for Carmarthenshire

·         School meal prices be frozen for 2019/20


For 2020/21 and 2021/22:-

·         the Communities Department over the next year revisits the proposal to close the Pendine Outdoor Education Centre and tries to identify a change in service provision, which would allow the facility to continue to operate whilst providing the cost reductions proposed;

·         the proposed efficiency savings to amend the frequency of council meetings from monthly to quarterly (year 2) and the Post 16 School Transport (years 2 and 3) be withdrawn

That the Band D Council Tax for 2019/20 be set at £1,255.17 (an increase of 4.89% for 2019/20]

That the £528k recurrent funding available be used in full to support the proposed amendments to the 2019/20 budget as detailed above

That the Medium Term Financial Plan be approved as the basis for future years planning”.





9.2.       FIVE YEAR CAPITAL PROGRAMME (COUNCIL FUND) – 2019/20 TO 2023/24


Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 4th February, 2019 [minute 7 refers] had considered the Five Year Capital Programme 2019/20 to 2023/24 and had made a number of recommendations for Council’s consideration.


The Executive Board Member for Resources presented to the Council, on behalf of the Executive Board, the Five Year Capital Programme that had regard to the budget consultations. The programme provided for an estimated spend of nearly £261m over the 5 years that optimised funding opportunities and maximised the funding from potential external sources with the Council’s contribution thereto estimated at £133m together with £128k from external grant funding bodies. If adopted, the programme comprised a combination of existing and new schemes to develop the local economy, create jobs and enhance the quality of life for our citizens.


The Executive Board Member advised that, as with the revenue settlement, the Council had not been provided with any forward indicators from Welsh Government in respect of general capital funding beyond 2019/20. Accordingly, the programme was based on the premise that future years supported borrowing and general grant would be at the same level as 2019/20. However, additional capital grant for general purposes had been made available by the Welsh Government over a 3 year period from 2018/19 to 2020/21, amounting to some £6.6m, which had now been included within the current 5 year capital programme.


He advised that many of the investments had been made into schemes such as 21st Century Schools programme, Highways, Regeneration and Housing, which were considered important for the County. New funding had been provided within the Community’s Department for the Amman Valley Leisure centre for 2020/21 and for the continuation of support for private Sector Housing in 2023/24 for Disabled facilities grant. The Environment Department would receive continued support for Highways Improvements, Bridge maintenance and Road safety schemes into 2023/24, and for the Tywi Valley path in 2019/20. Additionally, as consequence of additional Welsh Government Funding, the budgeted spend on ‘roads refurbishment’ for the next three years would increase by a further £1.5m per year.


The MEP programme had also seen some changes in the years 2019/20 to 2023/24 with the re-profiling of budgets and the introduction of some new schemes including Ysgol Gymraeg Cydweli, Hendy, Llandeilo and both Welsh Medium and Dual Stream Schools at Ammanford.  That had been due to the Welsh Government having recently announced their approval for the Band B programme running to 2024, with the main change being an increase in the intervention rate from 50% to 65% for Schools, and from 50% to 75% for Special schools thereby enabling the authority to deliver more schools within the £129.5m Band B programme. The Authority’s budget currently identified funding for £70m of the £129.5m programme.


The Regeneration & Chief Executives budgets, now incorporated the City deal schemes, which included the Wellness Village and Yr Egin. The proposed Llanelli Leisure Centre and Llanelli Area review had also been identified as a key component within the proposed Wellness Village development. There was also continued support for the Transformation Strategy Project fund within Regeneration for 2023/24, which had the potential of external funding to match fund the council’s budget.


Council was informed that officers would continue to monitor individual schemes and funding availability. Whilst both would need to be closely managed to ensure the schemes were delivered in full, the current programme was fully funded for the 5 years. He thereupon moved that the recommendations of the Executive Board in respect of the Five Year Capital Programme, [Council Fund] and its proposed funding, as detailed in the report. The proposal was duly seconded


UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the following recommendations of the Executive Board be accepted:-


“That the Five Year Capital Programme and funding, as detailed in Appendix B to the report, with 2019/20 being a hard budget and 2020/21 to 2023/24 being soft indicative budgets be approved;

That the programme be reviewed, as was usual, if anticipated External or County Council finding did not materialise;

That the Capital Strategy, as detailed in Appendix C, be approved”.



[NOTE: Following conclusion of this item at 1.00 P.M. the Council’s attention was drawn to Corporate Procedure Rule 9 – Duration of meeting and the fact the meeting had been underway for three hours. It was therefore


UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that Corporate Procedure Rule 9 be suspended and the meeting stand adjourned until 2.00 p.m. to enable the remaining items on the agenda to be considered.



The Council reconvened at 2.00 p.m. to consider the remaining items on the agenda.






(NOTE: Councillors J. Edmunds and H.A.L. Evans had earlier declared an interest in this item)


Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 4th February, 2019 [minute 8 refers] had considered the Housing Revenue Account Budget 2019/20 to 2021/22 and Housing Rent Setting for 2019/20 and had made a number of recommendations, as detailed within the Director of Corporate Services’ report for Council’s consideration.


Council received a presentation by the Executive Board Member for Resources, on behalf of the Executive Board, on the Revenue and Capital Budgets for the Housing Revenue Account 2019/2022, that reflected the plans within the 30 year Business Plan, being the primary financial planning tool for the delivery of the Carmarthenshire Homes Standard Plus (CHS+) and the Affordable Housing Strategy.


The Executive Board Member advised that the Capital investment of £231m within the current business plan had delivered the CHS+ for tenants and the further budget going forward had been developed to ensure appropriate funding was allocated to maintain the CHS+ standard for all the Council’s properties into the future. He reported that over the next 3 years it was anticipated the sum of £45m would be spent in maintaining and upgrading the housing stock thereby continuing the journey as detailed in the Carmarthenshire Homes Standard Plus Business Plan.


The budget also provided funding of some £44m over the next 3 years to support the Council’s Affordable Homes Programme and would increase the supply of affordable housing throughout the County via various solutions including, our new build programme and the buyback scheme. The new build programme, would be undertaken via both the capital programme and through the new Housing Company– Cartrefi Croeso


The Executive Board Member reminded the council that since 2015, the Authority had been required to adopt the Welsh Government Social Housing Rent Harmonisation Policy, which effectively required proposed rent increases being prescribed by Welsh Government guidance thereby providing a more equitable distribution of the rents for the social sector tenants. Whilst that policy ended in 2018/19, the Welsh Government had adopted an interim policy for 1 year for 2019/20 that allowed those local authorities within their target rent band to increase rent by CPI only, with the anticipation that Welsh Government would develop a new policy for implementation in 2020/21. 


However, on the 30 January 2019, after the initial interim policy had been considered by all Local Housing Authorities, the Welsh Government had notified Local Authorities of an amendment to that policy allowing Local Authorities with average rent within the Target Rent Band the flexibility to use the 'up to £2 per week' progression, subject to ensuring that the overall rent increase for general needs and sheltered housing stock did not exceed 2.4% and that no individual tenant would receive a rent increase of more than the agreed policy uplift of 2.4% plus the £2.00 progression. That amendment had enabled the Executive Board to consider a rent increase that allowed the Authority to meet its previous commitment to tenants, by implementing the original harmonisation policy and establishing a fairer rent level for all tenants. As a consequence, the Executive Board had proposed that the rent be set at a low and fair level, which was in line with Welsh Government guidance and maintained the Council’s harmonisation policy i.e.:-

-       Properties at target rents to increase by 1.92%

-       Those rents above target be frozen until such time that they meet the target rent.

-       Those rents below target rent be increased by 1.92% and are progressed by a maximum of £1 per week.

That would produce an increase on the average housing rent of 2.4% or £2.05 and would support a sustainable business plan.

In moving the Executive Board recommendations, the Executive Board Member advised the revised proposal had been considered, and endorsed by the Community Scrutiny Committee at its meeting held on the 14th February, 2019. The motion was duly seconded and it was:


UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the following recommendations of the Executive Board be adopted:-


-       “To increase the average housing rent as per the Welsh Government’s Social Housing Rents Policy [amended 30 January]

a)    Properties at target rents to increase by 1.92%

b)   Those rents above target are frozen until such time as they meet the target rent

c)    Those rents below target rent are increased by 1.92% and are progressed by a maximum of £1 per week


Thereby producing an increase on the average housing rent of 2.4% or £2.05 and will provide the Housing Account with the same overall rent collection value;


-       To maintain garage rents at £9.00 per week and garage bases at £2.25 per week;


-       To apply the service charge policy to ensure tenants who receive the benefit from specific services pay for those services;


-       To increase charges for using our sewage treatment works in line with rent increases;


-       To approve the Housing Revenue Account Budget for 2019/20 [with 2020/21 and 2021/22 being soft budget] as set out in Appendix B;


-       To approve the proposed Capital Programme and applicable funding for 2019/20 and the indicative spends for the future years 2020/21 to 2021/22 as set out in Appendix A”






Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 4th February 2019 (Minute 9 refers) had considered the Carmarthenshire Homes Standard Plus (CHS+) Business Plan 2019-2022, the purpose of which was to:-


·         Explain the vision and detail of the Carmarthenshire Homes Standard Plus over the next three years and what it meant for tenants;

·         Outlined how to deliver transformational change and investment and, set even more ambitious affordable homes targets for the future;

·         Confirm the financial profile, based on current assumptions, for the delivery of the CHS+ over the next three financial years;

·         Produce a business plan for the annual application to the Welsh Government for Major Repairs Allowance for 2019/20 totalling £6.1m.


The Executive Board Member for Housing presented the report and advised that if its recommendations were to be adopted, it would result in £45m being spent over the next three years in maintaining and further improving the housing stock. It would also allow the submission of an application to the Welsh Government for a £6.1m Million Repair allowance for 2019/20. The Executive Board Member outlined a plan for 2019/20 that would include:


-       £1m for building work on existing estates;

-       £2m to bring empty council houses back to use as soon as possible and to the CHS+ standard

-       £1.5m to improve communal areas in shelter schemes

-       £0.25m for improvements in relation to fire safety.


She advised that in addition to the above, the plan would assist the council with achieving the target of providing 1,000 affordable homes, in conjunction with its housing partners and other means, with 650 having been provided to date. It also detailed the proposals to build 900 new council homes over the next 10 years at a cost of £150m, 200 of which would be provided over the plan period at a cost of £44m


UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the following recommendations of the Executive Board be adopted:-

-       “ that the ambitious vision of the CHS+ and the financial and delivery programme over the next three years be confirmed;

-       That the submission of the Plan to the Welsh Government be confirmed”.






Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on 4th February, 2019 (minute 10 refers) had considered the Treasury Management Policy and Strategy 2019/20.


The Executive Board Member advised Council that in line with the requirements of the revised CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management, the Council must maintain a Treasury Management Policy detailing the policies and objectives of the Authority’s treasury management activities and also approve a Treasury Management Strategy annually before the start of the financial year to which it relates. In addition, under the Local Government Act 2003, the Council was required to approve the Treasury Management Indicators for the coming year.


In accordance with the above requirements, Council considered the Treasury Management Policy and Strategy for the 2019/20 financial. 


UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the following recommendations of the Executive Board be adopted:-


“That the Treasury Management Policy and Strategy for 2019-20

and the recommendations contained therein be approved;

That the Treasury Management Indicators, Prudential

Indicators, the Minimum Revenue Provision Statement and

recommendations therein be approved”.









10.1.    21ST JANUARY 2019


UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the report of the meeting of the Executive Board held on the 21st January, 2019 be received.




10.2.    4TH FEBRUARY 2019


UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the report of the meeting of the Executive Board held on the 4th February, 2019 be received.






(NOTE: All Directors left the meeting during consideration of this item)


The Council considered a report on the proposed arrangements for recruitment to the Post of Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service to Carmarthenshire County Council following the recent retirement announcement of its existing Chief Executive, Mr Mark James. It was noted that the report enclosed the proposed job profile and person specification for the post together with the job advert required to be publicly advertised as required by the Local authorities (Standing Orders)(Wales)(Amendment) Regulations 2014.


The Council was advised of the following three points relevant to the recruitment process:-


·         The proposed salary for the post would be at a fixed point of £145k per annum. Any variation to that salary would require submission to the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales. However, it did not include remuneration in respect of Returning Officer duties for elections.

·         The linguistic requirement for the post had been assessed as being level 4 for both Welsh and English

·         The job vacancy would be advertised nationally.




That the proposed Job Profile and Personal Specification for the post of Chief Executive be endorsed;


That the job advert to allow the post to be publicly advertised as required by the Local authorities (Standing Orders) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 be endorsed.






In line with the requirements of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and the Local Government (Committees and Political Groups) regulations 1990, as amended, consideration was given to a report detailing the outcome of a review of the composition of the Council’s Scrutiny, Regulatory and other Committees following the resignation of Councillor R. Evans from the Independent Group and notification of wish to join the Labour Group. It was noted that as a consequence of the resignation, the Independent Group would lose one scrutiny and one regulatory Seat and the Labour Group would gain one scrutiny and one regulatory seat. The allocation of seats to the Plaid Cymru Group and unaffiliated member were unchanged.

In response to the required changes, as set out in table 2B within the report, the Independent Group had agreed to relinquish one seat on the Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee and the Labour Group had nominated Councillor Rob Evans to fill its additional seat on this Committee.


With regard to the changes impacting the allocation of Regulatory seats as set out in Table 3 within the report, the Independent Group had agreed to relinquish one seat on the Audit Committee and the Labour Group had nominated Councillor Deryk Cundy to fill the additional seat on that Committee.


Furthermore, in accordance with Part 6 of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011, which set out the requirements for the appointment of Persons to Chair Overview and Scrutiny Committees, the Council noted that as Councillor Evans had moved between two groups that form the Executive, there was no change to the allocation for the 5 Scrutiny Chairs.


RESOLVED that as a result of changes to the overall political composition of the Council,


to adopt the changes to the number of seats held by the Independent and Labour Groups, as detailed within Tables1, 2 and 3 of the report, specifically the allocation of seats in respect of the Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee, and the Audit Committee;


In accordance with Corporate Procedure Rule 2(2)(n) to approve the changes in Committee Membership as a result of recommendation 12.1 above;


To note there were no changes to the  number of seats held by the Plaid Cymru Group and Unaffiliated Member;


To note that in accordance with Part 6 of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 that the allocation of the 5 scrutiny chairs was unchanged.


To note that the Labour Group had nominated Councillor Rob Evans to fill its additional seat on the Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee and for Councillor Deryk Cundy to fill its additional seat on the Audit Committee.






As a result of a review undertaken following Councillor Rob Evans’ resignation from the Independent Group and notification of wish to join the Labour Group, the Council considered a report detailing the consequential changes to the overall political composition of the Council and reviewed the arrangements for the allocation of seats to political groups.


Council noted that the only changes arising from the above change of membership related to the allocation of seats to the political groups for the Mid and West Wales Fire Authority and that following discussions with the Group Leaders it was proposed that the Plaid Cymru would relinquish its seat held by Councillor Mansel Charles who would be replaced by Labour’s Councillor Rob Evans

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that as a result of changes to the overall political composition of the Council:


The allocation of elected member seats on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Authority be amended as follows:-

Plaid Cymru (2) Labour (2) Independent (1) Unaffiliated (1)


To note that, in accordance with recommendation 13.1 above, the Plaid Cymru Group had relinquished the seat held by Councillor Mansel Charles and the Labour Group had nominated Councillor Rob Evans as its additional representative.






In accordance with Corporate Procedure Rule CPR 2(2)(n) and following the receipt of nominations from the relevant political groups it was:





to note that Councillor Mansel Charles would replace Councillor David Jenkins as one of the Plaid Cymru Group’s representatives on Appointments Committee B;


to note that Councillor Rob Evans would replace Councillor John Prosser as the Labour Group’s representative on the Dyfed Pension Fund;









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CHAIR                                                                                   DATE