NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Coronavirus: Aberdeenshire Council 'to save up to £60m by March 2022'

Aberdeenshire Council HQ Image copyright Aberdeenshire Council
Image caption The council's shortfall could reach more than £30m by the end of the financial year

Aberdeenshire Council is giving itself until March 2022 to save up to £60m due to the impact of Covid-19 on budget plans.

The authority said that in the first quarter of this financial year alone it is predicting loss in income of £8.5m and increased costs.

The shortfall could reach more than £30m by the end of the financial year.

The council leader said it was "grim reading". Work to develop a new medium term financial strategy is under way.

The losses are said to have been incurred as a direct result of the council's response to "keep people safe" during the pandemic.

This has included the creation of childcare hubs for the children of key workers, provision of free school meals, and the closure of sports and leisure facilities.

'Good start'

The financial strategy takes account of all areas of the council's spending, including revenue, capital, and reserves.

Council leader Jim Gifford said: "The term financial crisis is not used lightly but we need to look at every aspect of our financial position.

"Early indications are that the pandemic could cost us up to £60m in the period up to March 2022.

"This is a stark and blunt assessment of the situation in which we find ourselves, but we can do it and this is a good start for where we must go next."

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