There is a clamour of people calling for rates relief from municipalities — from online petitions to an opinion piece in the Financial Mail — as consumers inevitably start to buckle under the economic consequences of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The problem for local governments is that they have significant fixed costs — most notably employee-related expenses and bulk purchases — that need to be covered with already diminishing revenue, and they will find no relief from the national fiscus beyond that already being offered...

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