FIFE Council looks set to weather the storm of coronavirus with its financial reserves intact, councillors have heard last week.

Elaine Muir, head of finance, told the Environment, Finance and Communities Scrutiny Committee that a combination of extra funding and load-sharing across departments would help cover a £73 million Covid-19 hole in the budget for the 2020/21 financial year, which ends next month.

Local authority finance bosses had set aside a “last resort” reserve of £10 million to cover these costs in the event that they ballooned further – but Ms Muir says this will now not be touched.

To date Fife Council has accrued £62 million in Covid-related funding but expects a further £5 million, and a cost-sharing agreement with housing chiefs will see the remaining costs covered without dipping into the rainy day pot.

Ms Muir told the committee: “The finance team have been tracking all the operational changes, all the additional funding streams introduced by the Scottish Government.

“Whilst the strategy agreed was to use balances of up to £10 million the council balances will remain intact, securing it against inevitable financial risks in future years.”

However, coronavirus will continue to have an impact on Fife’s finances moving into 2021/22.

The projected impact of the virus across the council and its arms length organisations from April onwards is currently projected as £13.2 million – a fraction of the hit taken in 2020/21, but a hit nonetheless.

The Scottish Government has promised to deliver an extra £22.9 million in its annual settlement for Fife Council as part of its latest budget, including a proportion to offset any increase in council tax.

Ms Muir added: “It’s something we’re keeping an eye on.”

Committee convener Tim Brett praised the efforts of council officers, describing 2020/21 as “a year like no other”.

He added: “To their credit we’re going to come in (to the next financial year) without too much damage, if I can put it like that.”