THE coronavirus pandemic could leave Richmondshire District Council with a funding gap of around £1.5m over the next three years, it has been revealed.

As a result of costs associated with Covid-19, along with lost income and uncertainty over future grant funding, the authority could be looking to plug a £500,000 a year deficit.

Members of the council’s Corporate Board are this week being asked to approve the Medium Term Financial Strategy which shows annual costs of just over £7m a year.

The strategy was set in February as part of the annual budget setting process but since then the focus has turned to Covid-19 issues – internal and external- which has led to an impact on costs and income.

Council Leader, Angie Dale said: “While we have had grants to cover some of this work during this financial year, we do not know the effects on funding over the next three years.

“We have a potential funding gap of £500,000 a year which we could cover from our reserves but depleting them will leave us with significant challenges in future years.

Cllr Dale added: "Covid-19 has seen a drop in income in car parks and licensing for example and we expect that the collection of council tax and rates will be an issue for some people next year.

“However we have a sound financial base and we are preparing for this now to ensure we can continue with projects in our council plan, which amount to around £1.7m.”