Dan Peters 18 June 2020

Coronavirus has turned 'financial cracks into craters'

The new president of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) has warned that coronavirus has turned ‘financial cracks into craters’.

Local government in Northern Ireland is estimated to be losing £10.5m a month of income due to hits to revenue streams like leisure, tourism and parking.

Speaking at his inauguration at NILGA’s annual meeting, Cllr Matt Garrett, said COVID-19 had ‘massively exacerbated’ challenges within the sector.

He said: ‘COVID-19 has exposed the extreme financial fragility of our 11 local councils and, as a sector, we are haemorrhaging tens of millions of pounds a month.

'The current model of government in the North is not sustainable and cannot continue.

'For too long, local government has been undervalued and misunderstood.

‘Financial precarity is nothing new to anyone involved in local government but it has taken on a crisis dimension this year.

‘The pandemic has turned financial cracks into craters.’

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