LEADERS in Carmarthenshire will decide next month who will benefit from a £1.55 million cost of living support scheme which was announced in February.

Councils in Wales shared a £25 million pot of Welsh Government money that month which they could use to target those they felt needed help the most.

Ministers issued guidance the following month about how it could be spent, along with a larger £152 million scheme providing £150 for all council tax band A, B, C and D households in Wales, to help with soaring costs.

The guidance said: “The schemes are intended to provide immediate support as Wales recovers from the pandemic and support households to deal with the impact of increasing energy and other costs.”

Asked by the Local Democracy Reporting Service what its share of the £25 million fund was and whether a decision had been taken about how to spend it, a Carmarthenshire Council spokesman said it hadn’t decided how to spend the £1.55 million sum yet, but that cabinet would so next month.

Council elections took place in May, but Swansea Council allocated its share of the £25 million fund before voters went to the polls. Payments in Swansea included an extra £28 for all council tax band A to D properties.

Councils are administering the wider £152 million scheme to hand out £150 for council tax band A to D households. Asked for an update on progress in Carmarthenshire, the council spokesman said just under 58,000 households had received the £150 payment, with some 4,800 eligible households invited to apply for it. Carmarthenshire’s share of the scheme was £9.4 million.

Speaking when the two support schemes were unveiled in February, Minister for Finance and Local Government, Rebecca Evans, said: “People across Wales are facing an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis, fuelled by soaring energy bills. Day-to-day prices are going up as inflation rises.”

The energy price cap rose in April this year by 54% to £1,971 and is set to rise considerably more in October – and possibly again next January.

The UK Government has announced support including a £400 energy bill reduction for every household. This will be applied in monthly instalments between October and March.

In addition a £650 payment will be made to eight million lowest income households, £300 for eight million pensioner households, and £150 for six million people receiving non means-tested disability benefits.

Conservative leadership contender Rishi Sunak said he will provide further support if he became Prime Minister. Rival Liz Truss said on August 10 that she had not ruled out further grants, but said her preference was for support via tax cuts.