Councils: Loss of Income

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 7th December 2020.

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Photo of Martina Anderson Martina Anderson Sinn Féin 3:30 pm, 7th December 2020

T7. Ms Anderson asked the Minister for Communities what support has been put in place for councils, including Derry City and Strabane District Council, to deal with loss of income in 2020-21. (AQT 797/17-22)

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

At this stage, I am counting to well over £85 million, and we are still going. This money is needed. It will keep the councils open and essential functions going. In the Member's constituency, she will see that the council is the funding conduit to get money out for food and essential support for the community. The Executive have completely supported that. I met representatives from the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) and the NI Local Government Association (NILGA). I have no doubt that they will put in more bids, and my Department has fully funded each of their requests.

Photo of Martina Anderson Martina Anderson Sinn Féin

Go raibh maith agat, Minister, for that answer. What decision-making model has the Department put in place for income support allocations for each council?

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

The model has been that, when the first application went in, when Deirdre Hargey was here, there was strong due diligence to ensure that any asks of the councils were tested by our financial mechanisms and procedures. They withstood that due diligence. The requests are coming in based on councils' needs, and, to be fair, that relationship has been respectful and inclusive, and it has worked. All 11 councils have received the full amount for which they applied to my Department.

Photo of Christopher Stalford Christopher Stalford DUP

Mr Gary Middleton: one question and one answer.