Councils in Northern Ireland have finally been handed extra funding to deal with the coronavirus crisis, bringing them in line with the rest of the UK.
Earlier this week the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) and Solace called for Stormont to give financial support to councils hit by increased costs and falling income, ‘mirroring the actions already taken in England, Scotland and Wales’.
Now the minister for communities as activated emergency assistance to help cover some of the costs.
NILGA president, Cllr Frances Burton, said: ‘This is a welcome first step and heralds some vital financial assistance overseen by minister Hargey with the approval from the Department of Finance.’
‘Local government here has been investing heavily across many key services to ensure front line delivery on waste, burials and community co-ordination are provided as far as possible mindful of the public’s health, the most vulnerable, ever changing legislation and the safety of our employees.’
NILGA estitmates that councils in Northern Ireland face an £11m a month deficit due to the reduced income and massive expenditure associated with COVID-19.
‘We urge that, in keeping with colleagues in Scotland and Wales, departments in Stormont come together with us and consider the totality of the deficits over a 16-week initial phase, deficits which if met through practical partnership, will ensure councils’ sustainability,’ Cllr Frances has suggested.