Brent Council will not be able to offer the same levels of support to services in the borough if there is a second spike of Covid-19 infections, its chief executive has warned.

Carolyn Downs said the council will have to “think very, very carefully” about what it can and cannot offer if a second wave hits the area.

She said there would be analysis of who benefitted from financial aid during the first rush of Covid-19 cases and a system of “prioritisation” put in place for any future instances.

“Our response to a second spike will be tempered by our financial position,” she said.

“At the end of the day, we can’t go bankrupt – it’s not allowed.”

She added any decisions about who or what would benefit from support in the case of a second wave would be “entirely political”.

According to a report presented at a full council meeting earlier this month, it is facing a funding gap of around £23 million due to additional costs and lost income associated to coronavirus.

Ms Downs pointed out that, at the start of the pandemic, the Government told local authorities to do “whatever it takes” to get through it.

She noted the council has received “substantial amounts” of money from Whitehall, but she still anticipates a shortfall once everything has been tallied up.

But she insisted the council was “absolutely right” to spend as it did to ensure residents – particularly those most vulnerable – were supported.

And she said it would be “inclined” to continue to offer support in key areas, such as offering free personal protective equipment (PPE) to its care homes.