Highly anticipated economic report delayed in N.L. amid growing concerns of austerity

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — The head of an economic recovery team tasked with reviewing Newfoundland and Labrador's expenses and mapping a way forward for the indebted province says the group's interim report will be delayed several weeks.

Moya Greene, a St. John's-born businesswoman known for privatizing Britain's Royal Mail postal service, says the team's work has been interrupted by the province's recent lockdowns and will need up to six extra weeks.

The highly anticipated report is expected to examine government spending and the way services are delivered, an undertaking that has fuelled speculation about austerity measures, public-sector layoffs and privatization.

The interim report was expected to be released Sunday.

But Greene says Feb. 28 was a "notional" date rather than a "time is of the essence" deadline.

The economic recovery team's terms of reference says its chairperson will communicate with the province's premier on a weekly basis, but Greene says it's "not appropriate" for her to proceed with that plan since a provincial election is still unfolding.

Newfoundland's general election was set to take place on Feb. 13, but a COVID-19 outbreak prompted officials to move to mail-in voting and extended the deadline for postmarked ballots to March 12.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press