Coronavirus puts local councils in an even tighter spot- NRC

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Local councils are calling on the government to fill the gaps in their budgets caused by the coronavirus crisis, the...

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Local councils are calling on the government to fill the gaps in their budgets caused by the coronavirus crisis, the NRC reports.

One in three local councils were already unable to balance the books for 2020, the paper found, and problems caused by coronavirus have made things worse.

Local councils are currently missing out on millions of euros from tourism tax and parking fees. In addition, the councils say, the crisis will increase the number of vulnerable elderly people and youngsters, and more people will claim welfare benefits, which are paid by local councils.

These obligations will be very difficult to meet without government compensation, they said.

Utrecht mayor Jan van Zanen, who also chairs the association of local authorities VNG, told the paper that local authorities are counting on government help to field the extra costs. ‘It has to be done in an open, friendly way. We shouldn’t have to beg or conduct endless negotiations. We need the comfort of knowing that the government will be paying up.’

Talks about compensations have been ongoing but have not yielded any results so far, the paper said.

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