THERE remains a "significant degree of uncertainty" in Clackmannanshire Council financial forecasts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Elected members of the Audit Committee last week heard an update on the local authority's financial performance during Covid-19.

The virtual Kilncraigs chamber was told last Thursday, February 4, that General Fund revenue spend is forecasting an overspend of more than £2million for the financial year ending in March 2021.

Nearly half of that amount is attributable to an underachievement of income as a result of coronavirus restrictions, according to the financial position in October, explained council papers to be tabled on the day.

Representatives also heard that the Wee County element of the Clackmannanshire & Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) is forecasting an underspend of £90,000.

Council leader Ellen Forson, who proposed the paper, said: "Obviously, the outturn is from October and I think things have moved on significantly since then.

"We have a huge impact on the council's finances because of Covid.

"Capital programmes across all services have been impacted as have revenue in some areas.

"It is pleasing to see an underspend being forecast for the Health & Social Care Partnership but I loath to be too joyful about that because the position might move before we get to the final outturn of the year."

There is a £1.173m overspend within the partnership on care at home due to an increase in the weekly hours provided by the service.

An around £200,000 overspend on miscellaneous third party payments to other agencies as well as an around £220,000 shortfall in income due to less people being in short term care were also highlighted in council papers.

This is offset by underspend in a number of areas, including a more than £900,000 underspend on employee costs, due to vacancies.

There is also a more than £500,000 underspend on nursing homes, owing to a reduction in occupied places.

Council papers said: "This forecast is subject to a significant degree of uncertainty owing to Covid-19.

"Whilst the forecast is based on current commitments and activity levels, these are subject to change depending on the future course of the pandemic and the future configuration and design of services aligned to the partnerships strategic priorities."

Seconding the document at the meeting, Cllr Dave Clark added: "It's peculiarly difficult times and the finance team have done remarkably well in the circumstances.

"There's wee bits and pieces of politics in it but I don't think this is the time to be debating the politics of it, let's get on and do the business."