All 18 Social Democrats Councillors have jointly signed a letter to the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, urging him to provide clarity on the financial security of local authorities in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The party’s Councillors are calling on Minister O’Brien to prioritise support for local government to ensure delivery of local services.
The Councillors say that the lack of clear financial guarantees for county and city councils has put a lot of the planned work of local authorities on the backburner.
In a joint statement, the Councillors said: “We are preparing for a significant impact on our budgeted income as a result of Covid-19. Without specific guidance from the Government about what financial supplements will be put in place, local services will remain in limbo.”
In their letter to the Minister, the Councillors called for greater information on the practical interventions that will be put in place to ensure communities get the services they require. They have also asked that if local authorities need to pass emergency budgets to adjust their figures, that the input and role of Councillors in this process be clearly outlined.
“This is about more than just financial stability,” a spokesperson for the Councillors stated. “This is about ensuring that we, as Councillors, have all the necessary information at hand to fight for the investment our communities need now more than ever.
“If we are facing budget cuts in the near future, then we will be arguing for an equality budgeting process, in which councils must ensure that funding cuts and decisions being made don’t adversely affect the disadvantaged and overlooked parts of society.
“Community investment will be vital as we build a resilient society and economy after Covid-19. Social Democrats believe that the current crisis has only put more pressure on our most vulnerable in society.”
July 13, 2020
Copy of letter to Minister O’Brien here.