The coronavirus crisis could cost the council as much as £13million over a six-month period, it has been revealed.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) has outlined the costs of tackling the crisis in a new report which explains what action it has taken so far in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This includes spending £250,000 on a temporary crematorium, £325,000 on the coronavirus community hub and food distribution centre and almost half a million pounds to accommodate rough sleepers in B&Bs.

READ MORE: New £8 million home for special school gets Reading council approval

The report, published as a decision book, states: “There are significant financial implications in responding to this emergency both in terms of additional costs as well as reduced income levels and officers have put in place procedures to record and track both.

“Additionally, the refocusing of staff to deal with this emergency will inevitably mean some savings are delayed or not delivered as planned.

“The council’s monthly budget monitoring arrangements will be used to formally report on the financial position.

“However, early projections suggest the cost to the council over a six-month period could be up to £13m.”

READ MORE: Reading planning roundup including swimming pool and fish and chip shop

Unsurprisingly, the biggest increase in costs has come in adult social care and health services, with more than £1.3million spent on extra beds and support for patients discharged from hospitals.

RBC is also continuing to pay all casual staff at a cost of £180,000 per month.

The council has received £3.8million in government funding to tackle pressures brought on by the coronavirus crisis.

But this will still leave the council up to £13million down in the period from mid-March to mid-September this year, according to the council’s latest calculations.

It is not yet clear how much of that money will be refunded by the government.

READ MORE: Opening of new bar and community space MNKY Lounge halted by coronavirus

The report also outlines the areas the council will lose money as a result of decisions to help NHS staff and vulnerable people during the crisis.

This includes a series of measures related to parking and transport:

  • Suspending parking charges for NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic at council-owned car parks
  • Free residents parking permits for healthcare professionals for 16 weeks
  • Free parking for police in Broad Street Mall car park
  • Increasing the time limit on temporary parking permits from eight weeks to 16
  • Relaxing the limits on concessionary bus fares to link with shops opening early for the elderly and vulnerable

RBC is also refunding booking fees across its services and has suspended street trading licence charges for April and May, which will add to the financial cost of the crisis.