Wales

Concern over Powys health board's £6m debt to council

Elderly person holding a walking frame Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Most of the money owed to Powys adult services is down to the health board, a report said

Powys councillors say officers should not be frightened of threatening the local health board with legal action to recover £6m worth of debts.

A report to members said two-thirds of £9.5m owed to adult services related to Powys Teaching Health Board.

Plaid Cymru councillor Elwyn Vaughan said: "We can control expenditure but we need to ensure the income comes in."

Powys Teaching Health Board has been asked to comment.

A senior council officer said talks were taking place and that £6m would only be outstanding for a few days.

Vanessa Young, the council's director of transformation, said long-term historic debt was a much lower figure.

"We're working through the background to understand the issues from the past to resolve them and address any disputed debt," she said.

Councillor Vaughan added: "With anybody else there would have been a course of action or further steps taken.

"If that is needed so be it, that should be taken. But this limbo situation cannot be allowed to continue."

'Put the pressure on'

Finance manager Jackie Pugh told the health and social care scrutiny committee that some of the debt had already been cleared, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

But Liberal Democrat councillor Gareth Morgan said: "It's unfair that they should be operating on the basis of financial liquidity provided by this authority. We have to put the pressure on them."

"The health board are not exempt of meeting their liabilities more than anyone else, are they?"

Ms Young stressed to the committee that discussions had been open and everyone is "keen to resolve the issue".

"Hopefully, we would certainly not want to go or need to use legal resort, that's the last option," said Ms Young.

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