Cornwall Council is facing an £18million overspend and has had no assurance that the Government will help cover additional costs related to Covid-19.

The forecast overspend was reported to a meeting of the council’s Cabinet this morning when David Harris, deputy leader and councillor responsible for finance, warned that the council will face “difficult decisions” in the coming months.

A report to the Cabinet had indicated that the council was facing an overspend of £20.4m for the current financial year, but Cllr Harris said that this had now reduced.

He said: “We now have an £18million overspend which is a small reduction on what is in this report but it is still a big, big number to deal with.”

Cllr Harris said that the council would have a balanced budget plan when it comes to setting the budget for next year, which it is legally required to do, and said the council was looking at “different ways of delivering our services” to try and cut costs.

A major part of the overspend is coming from adult social care which is forecasting going over budget by £15m for the current financial year due to a large increase in demand for services and an increase in costs.

Cllr Julian German, former leader of the council, asked whether there had been any indication that the Government would reimburse the council for additional costs incurred due to the pandemic.

He said that there was almost £4m which had not been covered by funding provided by the government. And he argued that this could make the difference between leisure centres remaining open after it was reported that four are under threat.

Cllr German said: “Despite the Government saying that councils wouldn’t be left short by the cost from covid, and Conservative councillors reiterated that, we still see a gap in the funding.

“Now that we have a Conservative Prime Minister, Conservative MPs and a Conservative council can we be reassured that we will get out £4m and can keep our leisures centres, and hydrotherapy pool in St Austell, open?”

Cllr Harris said that the council was continuing to ask Cornwall’s MPs and the Government to address this.

He said: “We are hoping that the spending review and representations that we make prior to that will acknowledge these issues.”