The coronavirus pandemic will hit everything from schools to a solar farm project and a cashless council drive in Angus’s far-reaching change programme, councillors have been warned.
Finance chief Ian Lorimer has said determined efforts are being made to keep projects and savings on track as part of the longer-term objective of streamlining the authority to secure millions of pounds of budget savings.
But he told policy and resources committee councillors there will be no escaping the financial fallout from the Covid-19 crisis when considering budget-setting in February.
Mr Lorimer highlighted major concerns around securing a combined savings target in excess of £4million between Angus Health and Social Care Partnership and the authority’s arms’ length Angus Alive culture and leisure trust.
He said: “In the case of the Angus Health and Social Care Partnership, achieving the savings identified in the change programme means that AHSCP must deliver change projects within their service areas in order to live within their overall budget settlement.
“The planned projects/interventions have all slipped as a result of the pandemic, and that factor, combined with the cost pressures emerging from the response to the pandemic, along with uncertainty over the extent of Scottish Government support, means that the AHSCP position is still not clear.”
Angus Integration Joint Board last week agreed to dip into reserves to the tune of £500,000 as a step towards dealing with the financial challenges around health and social care provision.
The position facing Angus Alive is equally challenging, with sports centres only due to open in the middle of this month since being locked down in March.
“The business model established by the council in 2015, when it established Angus Alive as an Arms-Length External Organisation (ALEO), is based on part funding from a council management fee and part funding through income generation,” said Mr Lorimer.
“The organisation’s ability to generate income as a result of the lock-down has been removed in its entirety and will almost certainly be reduced during recovery; a phase we are likely to be in for a number of months.
“This is a major challenge for Angus Alive and the whole ALEO sector and, at this stage, it is uncertain if the Scottish Government will provide any assistance through an income support scheme,” he said.
A key report on the way ahead for the trust is expected to be delivered to a full meeting of the council next week.