The overall cost of the Covid-19 pandemic to Harrow Council is likely to fluctuate between now and its next budget, its top financial officer has said.

Dawn Calvert, director of finance at Harrow Council, said it was “difficult to predict” an accurate picture of the impact the pandemic will have on the borough.

Uncertainties related to changes to the Government’s furlough scheme, any additional funding from Whitehall, and the possibility of a second wave or local lockdowns means the council can only speculate about its future position.

Ms Calvert explained that, in June, Harrow Council estimated increased pressures of around £44 million due to loss of income and additional costs associated with Covid-19.

Part of this was offset by emergency support funding from the Government worth £13.1 million.

The council has since received a further £1.9 million and it will send an updated picture of its financial state to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government at the end of this week.

This figure has increased month-on-month as the council continues to both spend and lose out in response to the virus outbreak.

And Ms Calvert said this is likely to continue as the council faces additional costs with the country gradually moving out of lockdown.

“Things like trying to make council buildings Covid-safe can be very costly, so we will see a trajectory up,” she said.

“We’re also expecting a reduction in council tax collections – £650,000 of which comes from more people relying on council tax support schemes.”

She added a clearer picture of the impact of further government support schemes is unlikely to come “before Christmas”, with the budget-setting process for 2021/22 kicking into gear around this time.

And there are wider concerns about the impact of the pandemic on the council’s medium-term financial strategy, with “legacy costs” expected to affect budgets going forward.

Ms Calvert explained the council is eagerly anticipating the Government’s comprehensive spending review to cover three years, which will help it better manage its medium-term finances.