ABC Council reveals 'considerations' around furloughing staff

ABC Council reveals 'considerations' around furloughing staff
Adam Morton

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Adam Morton

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Local Democracy Reporter

ARMAGH City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is “currently considering issues around furlough” it has been revealed.

The news comes in the wake of council claims that it could stand to lose roughly £10 million over the course of this financial year - roughly one third of the agreed budget for the new Craigavon Lakes Leisure Centre.

The council has however said, as things stand, there are no plans at present to cut services.

Following confirmation from Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey MLA that councils could avail of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, a spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said: “Initial estimates are that, if the current situation remains, the council could lose approximately £10 million over the course of this financial year.

“At present, we don’t have plans to cut services, but the council will be keeping all areas of expenditure under close review and will work through ways to mitigate losses.

“The council is working with colleagues across councils to continue to make the case for support for local government to ensure vital public services are protected.

“The council is currently considering issues around furlough.”

Speaking about councils’ eligibility for the scheme, Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey MLA said:”I can confirm that councils are eligible to apply to furlough staff through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

“My priority has been to ensure the rights of workers are respected and to protect jobs.

“This is a very difficult time for everybody. Our 11 councils provide very important functions and services, continuing to do so during this emergency and looking ahead councils need to be ready to play their part in the economic recovery.

“I am pleased to be able to provide clarity about this issue and most importantly, to ensure that council workers jobs are protected.”

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