Coronavirus has dealt a multi-million-pound hit to Allerdale Council’s finances.

The authority has lost about £3.3m of income and seen additional spending of roughly the same amount while dealing with the pandemic, Councillor Jim Lister revealed at a virtual meeting of the council’s executive on Wednesday afternoon

The executive heard that emergency funding from the Government had helped cover some of the financial burden but the Conservative councillor, who has responsibility for the council’s finances, said it was still facing a £2.7m blow to its coffers without more intervention.

“That is going to cut into a great deal of our reserves,” he said.

Coun Lister suggested that the hit had not been as bad as feared but admitted the full impact of COVID-19 on the council’s budget would not be known for some time, although he stressed the situation was “under control”.

He added: “We are still waiting for the full impact on the budget to emerge as restrictions are lifted.

“Although we are faced with a great deal of uncertainty and challenges, we are finding ways of adapting and delivering our services in different ways for the future.”

Coun Lister moved approval of the report, with Councillor Alan Pitcher seconding.

Councillor Marion Fitzgerald, who is the only independent executive member, also updated councillors on the draft of a one-year plan to help the council get through the pandemic.

While the authority’s full council approved a 10-year council strategy in December, Coun Fitzgerald said plans to draw up a four-year delivery plan had changed.

“While we initially wanted to develop a four-year delivery plan, in light of the current circumstances we believe that a one-year interim delivery plan is more appropriate and meaningful,” she said.

“As we build up a detailed understanding of the impacts the pandemic has had and continues to have on the council and area, we will seek to build a clear, comprehensive picture of the medium and long term.

“That improved understanding will result in the creation of a comprehensive medium-term plan from 2021 onwards.

“In the meantime, however, we know that there is much to do in helping our local area to recover and for our economy to restart successfully."

The plan will lay out the council's priorities over the next year as it develops a better understanding of the pandemic's impact.