CONCERNS have been raised that axing a £200 allowance to cover the costs of buying equipment that allows council staff to set up a workspace at home could hit productivity.

At a recent meeting of Blaeanau Gwent County Borough Council’s Corporate Performance scrutiny committee on Thursday, March 14 councillors looked at a report on agile and flexible working policies of the council.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and due to the closure of the Civic Centre in Ebbw Vale, the council adopted an agile working policy in 2021.

The updated policy takes out the £200 payment which allowed staff to buy a desk and office chair for their home workspace.

Head of organisational development Andrea Prosser explained that as the £200 allowance is not available anymore it would be made “very clear” in any job advert that requires an element of working from home, what the “requirements” are.

Ms Prosser told councillors that “no other council” to her knowledge offers this allowance.

But Cllr Tommy Smith said he believed the removal of the allowance would be a “step backwards.”

Interim chief executive, Damien McCann said that take up of the allowance had been “quite small” amongst council staff.

Councillors noted the report and will go on to be discussed at a a full council meeting on Thursday, March 21.