Harrow Council could resort to emergency measures – including cuts to services – if it does not receive additional financial government support to counter the impact of Covid-19, its top official said.

Chief executive Sean Harriss told a council overview and scrutiny committee meeting that it would “need to act” by early autumn if more funding does not arrive.

He said he is “optimistic” the Government will step forward to support local authorities but said he would be “extremely worried” if it does not.

So far, Harrow Council has received £13 million worth of government support to help tackle the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, it estimated that the crisis will cost around £35 million when additional spending and loss of income is considered.

Mr Harriss explained that government funding has eased the situation in the short term but warned that a lack of further backing would “leave a hole in this year’s and next year’s budget”.

Responding to a question by Cllr Kiran Ramchandani about the state of the council’s finances, he noted that its future is entirely dependent on decisions made by ministers.

“I think it would be difficult for any Government, of any political persuasion, not to provide the funding,” he said.

“If it does come through then I’m not worried, but, if it doesn’t come through, I’m extremely worried.”

Mr Harriss said the council would need to prepare for a tough situation if sufficient funding were not forthcoming.

He said it has a “responsibility not to wait until things become irreversible” but stressed it was important not to implement any emergency measures unnecessarily.

As a provisional timetable, he proposed outlining available resources at a council cabinet meeting in July and, if things did not change, the council would “need to act” by early autumn.

Cllr Adam Swersky, who is responsible for finance and emergency response at Harrow Council, said the Government must stand by its claim of doing “whatever it takes” to help local authorities get past this crisis.

“The £13 million covers the extra costs we’ve faced, but it doesn’t cover the huge drop in income,” he said.

“If things don’t change then we would be left in a position where we would have to cover these costs.”