THE commitment by Fife Council to maintain staffing levels to ensure that the services council tax payers expect are kept going is re-assuring.

The situation where the coronavirus pandemic has seen a £78m hole driven in the council budget is really quite stunning.

But it is something which is hitting businesses and industries up and down the country after heading towards four months of chaos caused by this awful disease.

The stats issued last week outlined how 33 local people had died by the end of May through the condition, which is tragic for local families, and something at the beginning of 2020 could not have been predicted.

However, during the lockdown great community strengths have shone through and there have been many, many local heroes in many, many ways.

The council does have a problem to deal with in trying to balance the books and maintain services, as was underlined at the committee, which heard that during the last four months loss of income and costs incurred has seen the hole in the budget get ever bigger.

The important thing is that this is no normal time and the loss of money from council tax, non domestic rates and council rents will have a massive impact on all of this.

But as was pointed out by co-leader David Ross, the last thing that is needed just now is jobs to be shed as this would have a big impact on services and on the economy of the county.

At this time, when people are slowly trying to grasp some sort of normality back into their life, Fife Council standing firm and maintaining as many of their services as they can will play a role in helping stop a steady decline developing.

The Scottish Government will have a role to play in trying to help Fife, and other local authorities get through this difficult stage, and hopefully they will step up to the plate at a critical time.