THE CORONAVIRUS crisis is set to cost the council almost £6 million in 2020-21, documents reveal.

A review of the financial impact on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council reported to the authority's cabinet on Tuesday night showed that they expect the pandemic and its effects to result in cost pressures of £5.98 million during this financial year.

This includes over £1 million in unplanned costs, and almost £5 million in reduced income.

There is currently a budget deficit of over £2 million for this coming financial year, with cabinet members saying that they will continue to monitor the situation, "to ensure that income is maximised, and expenditure controlled".

43 per cent of the council's forecast savings are unachievable because of the Covid crisis, such as increased income from parking charges and a delay in implementing cost-cutting measures to the functioning of the council.

A second lockdown could also cause further uncertainty in the council's financial position, the report summarises.

The report also revealed that further savings should continue "where possible to prevent further deterioration in the council’s financial position", whilst they will also lobby government for further funding.

Cabinet member for finance and service improvement, Cllr Hannah Golding, told the meeting: "The council now needs to re-base its budget based on what is currently known or anticipated for the rest of the financial year whilst looking forward to the Medium Term Financial Strategy and the implications on that."

Council leader, Ken Rhatigan, applauded Cllr Golding and officers for their financial management of the situation, saying that it appeared the council would "haul" itself out of the situation.

Cabinet member John Izett joined him, saying: "This is undoubtedly the most testing time in the management in our finances.

"There is no clarity in what the future may hold in the length and depth of the financial consequences."

The cabinet also approved over £1m in government funding being released from its medium term financial strategy (MTFS) risk reserve to prepare a bid for adding land to the south of Manydown to the local plan update.

Council will be asked to approve £250,000 coming out of the same reserve for a strategic review of development around junction 7 of the M3, and up to £100,000 for advice on possible government devolution.