The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on rates collection was potentially the most serious financial impact on the local government sector, which Government addressed by allocating €900m to the rates waiver scheme in 2020. This was a key priority of Minister O'Brien and I upon taking office last year. Subsequently, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform sanctioned the allocation of any unused funds from the 2020 waiver to local authorities in recognition of the income losses they faced as well as their additional expenditure as a result of the pandemic .
The loss of other local authority income also impacted the sector and it is recognised that additional costs were incurred. Local authorities were advised to capture all related costs in their financial systems to aid financial analysis of the impact of Covid-19 on the local government sector.
My Department is finalising arrangements to pay €71m to local authorities in relation to the loss of income and is currently analysing the additional costs incurred. It is intended that when this analysis is complete, further payments to local authorities will be made.
As regards deficits, local authorities are required to finalise their Annual Financial Statements for 2020 by 31 March 2021.