FIFE Council will face another race to set its budget after the UK Government announced a delay to its funding announcement.

Local authorities were in a similar situation last year because of December's general election and councillors were told on Thursday that the 2021 budget setting would also have a tight schedule.

A report from Head of Legal and Democratic Services Morag Ferguson said the budget setting meeting is planned for February 25.

"Members will be aware that the Government focus on Coronavirus has meant that the UK Budget, which is normally published in November, has been delayed. This in turn means that the Scottish Local Government Settlement, issued by the Scottish Government, may also be delayed," she stated.

"The Scottish Local Government Settlement is generally issued by way of Finance Circular in December of the year before the relevant budgetary year. However, it is not currently clear whether the Scottish Government will be able to meet those timescales for 2021/22."

Cllr Bill Porteous asked if, given the time scale, Fifers should be given pre-warning of "potential substantial increases" in council tax however Ms Ferguson said this was not necessary.

"This is just shortening the period," she said. "It will have no impact on the budget. It is simply preparation for the budget meeting itself."

A report to councillors from co-leaders, Cllrs David Ross and David Alexander, said they were receiving regular updates on the financial position regarding Covid and the more general budget position of the Council.

They stated: "This is very much a moving picture and reports will be produced for the Policy and Co-ordination Committee.

"It is anticipated the Scottish Budget will be presented in early February. This mirrors the events of last year when the UK Budget was presented after the Scottish Budget.

"Additional funding to cover additional costs related to Covid are being received through the Scottish Government and a number of financial flexibilities have been negotiated by COSLA to assist Councils manage their financial position.

"The Council is also taking on responsibility for further grant payments to businesses and for hardship payments through the Scottish Welfare Fund."