The coronavirus pandemic is projected to cost Essex County Council £90 million this year alone.

Covid-19 has placed the county under "significant" financial pressure, council officials say.

Facing a £2 billion bill next year for essential services, the council is launching a public consultation for residents to express what services are a priority to them.

The council is looking to tailor funding for services in step with residents priorities for economic recovery.

Cllr David Finch, leader of the council, said: “I am proud to say that ECC has a strong track record of financial management, with over £370 million saved over the past five years. However, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic this year have truly reinforced that we must never be complacent and that it is vital to continue to carefully manage our resources now and in the longer-term.

“We are facing some big decisions over the coming months, with additional costs of over £90m expected this year alone due to the pandemic. As we plan for next year and beyond, we can expect further pressures from Covid-19 itself, the longer-term impacts of lockdown and school closures."

The consultation, launched on Tuesday, September 29, will inform the council's plans for the its 2021/22 budget.

Cllr Finch added: "We know that lots of residents have and are still facing challenges they could never have planned for because of the pandemic and some of the impacts are still yet to be felt in full.

“This is why it is so important that we hear from you, the people of Essex, to understand exactly how the crisis has changed your priorities – for yourself, your family and your community – so that we can ensure we are responding in the most appropriate way.”

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