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Virus could cost us £5m, warns council

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A Norfolk council has warned it could face a financial loss of more than £5 million due to the cost of responding to the Covid-19 crisis.

A report presented to Breckland Council’s cabinet on Monday blamed the doomy forecast on additional costs and lost income.

The authority’s realistic estimate of its financial position following a six-month-long impact from the virus warns that it could see £2.8 million in costs and income loss, while a worst-case scenario – based on a period of nine months – could see it lose as much as £5.5 million.

The report was presented to Breckland Council's cabinet on Monday.
The report was presented to Breckland Council's cabinet on Monday.

Philip Cowen, executive member for finance and growth, told councillors: “The council has significant costs. All councils in the country are facing an unprecedented call on resources.”

He added: “I’d rather we don’t look at the pessimistic view. It’s a bit of blue sky thinking and much further into the future.”

The council has received almost £1.5 million in emergency coronavirus funding from central government, but it remains “highly likely” that the council will have to draw on its reserves in order to balance its books this year – and even next.

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