THE coronavirus pandemic has hit council finances to the tune of nearly £16million in the past three months.

Figures are still being recalculated as West Dunbartonshire Council faced unprecedented demand and disruption to their work – especially in the health and social care sector.

Provost William Hendrie took the opportunity of last Wednesday’s first full council meeting in three months to thank council staff and the wider community for their efforts during the pandemic and he praised their dedication in the face of so much suffering.

He also praised the “unrelenting spirit” shown by the community.

There was a minute silence at the start of the meeting to remember the victims of Covid-19 in West Dunbartonshire, numbering 122 according to the latest government figures.

But Covid-19 has also hit every aspect of council work, according to a report on the last three months.

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Council officials said many deaths had happened at half of the area’s care homes, but also noted that “guidance around care homes changes often on a weekly, and at times on a daily basis”. As of June, there is now regular testing of all council-employed care home staff.

West Dunbartonshire requires, on a weekly basis, 170,600 gloves, 110,000 aprons and 86,250 masks, according to the council report.

As well as the expense to services, there was also lost revenue from paid council services and events held at council-owned venues.

Provisional estimates show the council had nearly £1m in extra costs, £7.3m in lost income and £1.9m in reduced costs as buildings and services were shut or curtailed.

The reported estimate for the cost to the health and social care partnership (HSCP) is £9.6m in costs, of which the social care elements is the bulk at £9m.

Joyce White, chief executive, told the councillors: “We have been told all costs will be funded but we have yet to receive that funding.”

Beth Culshaw, the chief officer of the HSCP, said if the Scottish Government didn’t meet all their costs, they would have to use reserves and then split the deficit between the health board and council.

Meanwhile, the council paid out £12.7m total across 1,132 business grants on behalf of the Scottish Government to get them through the lockdown.