An estimated £8.2million loss of income caused by the Coronavirus has slowed down the Royal Borough's recovery from its financial problems.

But at last night's cabinet meeting council leader Andrew Johnson sounded an optimistic note.

He said that without Covid the authority could well have been running an underspend by now after savings it had made, adding: "But through no fault of our own the financial situation has changed.

"However we are resolute in our determination."

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Reserves had risen from £900,000 to £2.7million since June. He said that without the loss of revenue from parking, leisure services and commercial projects caused by Covid it could have hit £9million.

A lot depends now on financial help from the National Association of Local Councils enabling the authority to balance the budget sooner rather than later.

But Cllr Johnson felt that balancing the budget by the end of the year - 'something that would have been beyond our wildest dreams' recently was now a possibility.

He said: "Some external people seemed determined to talk down the finances of the Royal Borough.

"They underestimated our determination to deliver at all costs a sound platform on which to deliver our recovery."