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Llanedi Council under scrutiny

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Llanedi: Damning report into financial irregularities

Llanedi: Damning report into financial irregularities

WHEN WAYNE ERASMUS raised the competence of a community council at a meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council in January he ended up in a spat with the Chair and was asked to leave.

Wayne now claims that the point he was making about the lack of resources and skills at some community councils to take on assets from the County Council has been borne out.

He says that recent developments at Llanedi demonstrate that its community council is not fit for purpose.

He has suggested that because Llanedi Council is Plaid Cymrudominated, his concerns are not being taken seriously.

He has now claimed to The Herald that a damning report compiled by independent auditors, BDO is being withheld from councillors and the public ahead of next week’s Assembly elections.

Mr. Erasmus told The Herald: “Questions remain over a substantial amount of money, which is unaccounted for, which was raised by the community for a swimming pool at Hendy.

“£18,000 was collected for the pool and Hendy Pool committee gave that in Trust to Llanedi Community Council. After it was decided to use the money for some other projects a residual amount of money was left but cannot be accounted for.”

Wayne Erasmus also said: “Minutes have gone missing. The precept was raised by 39% illegally. It was not minuted and not signed off. Labour councillors have asked for the original minutes and have said they would not accept fabricated minutes.”

The Herald can confirm that Llanedi Community Council were told that they had to complete an audit by (Sept 30) 2015 following the discovery of a number of irregularities.

That Audit followed a finding that an action plan put in place following the previous year’s external audit was not discussed at a meeting of the council. Budgets were not properly monitored. The financial statements provided to meetings did not show comparisons to the budget.

The budget also did not show a breakdown of reserves between general, specific and earmarked fund and the movements against these headings.

Specific statutory breaches took place in relation to the failure of the Council to approve its annual accounts; there was a failure to discuss the auditor’s report at a public meeting (or any meeting at all); the Council budget and precept was not approved at a meeting of the Council, which begs the question: ‘where and was it set, and by whom?’

Llanedi Council’s financial management was so poor, it had failed to claim VAT on expenditure for two years.

The latest report from BDO is believed to be another damning indictment on the way the council has managed its affairs.

The Herald has received copies of emails from BDO from November that suggested that a police investigation into the dealings of Llanedi Community Council was considered.

One email reads: ‘I have contacted the police to obtain confirmation of if there is an on-going investigation into the Council – if there is this will delay us as we will be unable to issue our audit report’.

However, requests made to examine the latest BDO report have been kicked into the long grass until May 19. The Herald has, however, established that the report WAS discussed by Llanedi Council in secret on April 6. According to Wayne Erasmus, in view of the impending Assembly elections, the delay in making the report public is for electoral reasons.

A request made to Llanedi Council for the report or a response to the allegations was rejected.

We asked former Llanelli AM Keith Davies whether the BDO report should be made public. He told us: “If there is a report from BDO, which raises serious concerns regarding serving councillors, be they Community Councillors or County Councillors, then that report must be made public immediately.”

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Health

Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June

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ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Health

Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services

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MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Business

Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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