Support for Council Financial Challenges to Continue.
NILGA, the Northern Ireland Local Government Association, met with Finance Minister Conor Murphy MLA, on 27th January, with joint working and recognition of the challenges facing councils and the wider public purse high on the agenda.
Cllr. Matt Garrett (Belfast City Council) NILGA Chair, welcomed the continued support offered by Stormont as well as access to Ministers to address ongoing concerns of the 11 councils.
“Councils in the North provide essential services crucial to COVID-19 Containment and Recovery. Those services are funded by almost 80% from Rates with most of the remaining 20% coming from Leisure Centre income and other services. Both rates and services income have been severely affected by the pandemic. All short-term help this and next financial year from wider government is simply essential to maintain those public services.
“In the longer term, a more sustainable finance model for councils is a must. NILGA and councils will do our utmost to keep the rates setting process as prudent as possible, recognising fully that the economy is in a downturn. Conversely, social and economic recovery needs councils so they can put resources into jobs, services, regeneration and infrastructure.
“Like Ministers across all parties and the wider Assembly, Minister Murphy clearly recognises and aims to continue the support for the essential work of local government. We must fervently continue to work together for recovery to happen faster, better, locally, for all.”