The impact of coronavirus on Fife Council’s coffers has diminished once more as finance chiefs get a firmer grasp on the consequences of the global pandemic.

Councillors on the policy and resources committee were told that the Covid-19 bill was now around £66 million – down from the most recent estimate of £73m and a peak of £78m.

Local authority accountants remain confident they won't have to dip into a £10m pot of reserves, despite a £3.7m shortfall in currently agreed funding to cover virus-related expenses.

In all, Fife could be left with over £18m of uncommitted pocket money thanks to what Eileen Rowland, director of finance and corporate services, called “one-off” financial boosts from ministers.

“We were projecting a funding gap of £3.7 million but I now expect us to have to carry forward funding due to funding announcements from the Scottish Government,” she said.

“We will see a significant increase in our reserves but we’ll be positioning that carefully. It won’t influence to a great degree how we deal with the core budget (for next year). I don’t anticipate any issues there.”

Finance minister Kate Forbes boosted a lost income fund for councils from £90m to £200m as part of the Scottish budget for 2021/22.

Fife will receive funding from this to cover many of its costs, along with £15.2m for health and social care and £40m for education.

Among the biggest losses for the council – almost entirely pinned on the coronavirus crisis – are in building services which has seen £18.7m of expected income delayed due to lockdown, there's also £3.5m of lost income at leisure and culture centres and upwards of £2m in lost parking fees.

Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, councillors said the support provided by the Scottish Government had been a boon.

Committee convener and council co-leader David Alexander, closing the discussions, noted: “There’s money moving around like Las Vegas at the moment but it’s all going the one way – we’re not losing.”