A BEULAH county councillor has spoken of his ‘shock’ at the number of colleagues who abstained on his vote to grant a pay rise for Ceredigion domiciliary care workers.

During a meeting of the Healthier Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Lyndon Lloyd called for a recommendation to be made to Cabinet that council reserves be used to increase the pay of care staff to £15 an hour in order to attract more applicants and ‘tackle an urgent situation and use reserves to cover this crisis’.

Councillors questioned the clarity of the recommendation as well as making decisions ‘willy nilly’ without full figures and considerations in place, including the need to consider equality of pay across sectors, but only one voted against the proposal.

There were four votes in favour and eight abstentions, meaning the recommendation will be put to Cabinet, with the committee agreeing to include reasons for the number of abstentions.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Lloyd told the TivySide he was “shocked” at the number of abstentions to his motion, which was seconded by Cllr Daniel Potter, of New Quay.

 “It was impressed upon to us how hard it is to recruit carers, but then you’re not going to recruit staff unless you pay them,” he added. “We also need to give more money to the private sector who provide services to the council.”

 And, in a thinly-veiled reference to the controversial £15k pay rise awarded to chief executive Eifion Evans, Cllr Lloyd observed that the local authority evidently had “generous” resources.

 He also posed the question whether Ceredigion County Council were the only local authority to possess a decision-making body such as Gold Command.

 When pressed by the Tivy-Side to confirm whether he had been among 26 members to vote for the chief executive’s 14 per cent pay hike, Cllr Lloyd said he had done so on the understanding that the council would subsequently increase the wages of all care staff “as there are sufficient funds to do so.”

The committee were also updated on the current position regarding domiciliary care service where increasing waiting lists and recruitment issues are having an impact.

Ceredigion is currently facing a similar situation to the rest of the country with providers all reporting loss of staff which is impacting on the availability of trained and qualified people, with recruitment also an issue, combined with a ‘relentless upward trend’ in demand, a report to committee stated.