Daily Council Updates

Archive: Wednesday 18 March, 15:30pm

Update: Wednesday 18 March, 15:30pm

All Council services currently remain open.

Tonight, a Council meeting will deal with the restricted use of some Council services. We will endeavor to ensure all essential Council services, such as bin and waste collections, registration and environmental health services are maintained.

If you need to use Council services, we would encourage you to please telephone in the first instance.

T: 0300 124 5000

Some of our services will close or have restricted access.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at his press conference, made further announcements, along with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The announcement focused on financial support to business.

The summary of his announcement included:

  • A package of financial measures to shore up the economy against the coronavirus impact;
  • £330bn in loans available to SMEs;
  • £20bn in other aid, including grants for retailers and pubs;
  • A business rates holiday (initially three months in NI);
  • Help for airlines is also being considered.

The Chancellor said he was extending the business rates holiday to all firms in the hospitality sector. Funding grants between £10,000 and £25,000 will be available to SMEs.

The Chancellor said that for those in financial difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month mortgage holiday for individuals.

Statutory Sick Pay will be used for an initial two-week period for those out of work due to the coronavirus.



Northern Ireland is to receive £640m from yesterday’s UK Government package.

Alongside the £260m already announced by the Treasury the day before, this amounts to an injection of more than £900m.

The Executive is meeting today to determine how this will be distributed and how this will be used to support SMEs and individuals.

The Finance Minister, Conor Murphy, announced a three-month rates holiday for all business. This is with immediate effect.



As of 2pm on Wednesday 18 March, testing has resulted in six new positive cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Northern Ireland to 68.

The total number of tests completed in Northern Ireland is 1,482.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “The entire health service is under growing pressure. Please don’t add to that unless you have to. And please, please be patient and treat our great staff with respect. They are there to care for you - you are their first concern. Please show them the same concern and consideration.”



The Finance Minister has ring-fenced £100m rates package, from the £900m allocated to the NI Executive, to assist businesses impacted by Covid-19.

All businesses will pay zero rates for the next three months in order to assist businesses in these challenging times.

The Finance Minister has indicated this in an initial package and discussions will take place today. It is very much expected that this will extend to be in line with the rest of the UK.

Business Rates bills will be deferred for payment from April until June.



Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has confirmed contingency plans are in place to deal with impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on local infrastructure.



All frontline Council Services remain fully operational and we are working to maintain a continuation of these services, such as waste and leisure.

There will be a Council meeting tonight which may see some of restrictions on these services. However, at this stage, everything remains open.