AILG have submitted their own budget submission to Ministers Paschal Donohue and Michael McGrath on the difficult financial challenges facing the local government sector in 2021 and beyond due to a loss of income as a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis.
Our Pre-Budget submission focused around the immediate and short-term financial impact that the Covid-19 crisis is having on the income streams of our member local authorities and the measures that need to be committed to in Budget 2021 to ensure that they are adequately financed for the rest of 2020 and 2021 to continue to lead the local response to the pandemic.
However, the Covid-19 crisis has also had a devasting effect on local business and to local economies right around the country. This has had a knock-on effect on the various incomes streams of our member local authorities which in turn could result in diminished service delivery at local level. It is imperative that Budget 2021 guarantees the adequate funding for local authorities in the short to medium term to ensure that the local government sector can continue to lead the vital local responses to the crisis on behalf of our citizens.
AILG, in our submission informed the Ministers that local authorities are facing a potential reduction in income for 2021 of over €330m due to forecasted reduction in commercial rate income including uncollectable commercial rates and loss of income from other local authority goods and services. In addition to this there is a need for additional Covid-19 related expenditure which is estimating an overall potential deficit of over €360m for local authorities in 2021. This potential loss would have a devastating effect on every local authority to keep vital local services in operation throughout 2021 and beyond. We emphasised that the sector will need increased additional central funding for next year and for the foreseeable future in order to keep vital services in operation at local level and that this financial commitment will need to be provided for in budget 2021.
Finally our submission highlighted that our elected members and their local authorities took the lead in the local response to the Covid-19 crisis and were to the fore in the roll-out and operation of the local community response committees that were established to co-ordinate the provision of vital local services to the venerable and those most affected during the crisis. This showcased the great work that local government does on the ground in all of our communities and the sector needs to be protected during this current difficult time.