The trading standards department in Harrow and Brent anticipates further strains on its finances as Covid-19 restrictions continue.

A report presented to the councils’ joint advisory board on Thursday (March 29) showed a decline in income for this financial year, attributed to the impact of the pandemic and a general reduction in services.

It noted money brought in through fees and charges for 2020/21 stood at £28,000 against a forecast of £45,500.

This was put down to a reduction in the number of letting agent inspections, which can bring in thousands of pounds through fines if necessary, and fewer requests for chargeable trading standards advice from businesses.

The report added there continues to be a “year on year decline” in the number of people requiring weights and measures services.

As well as the shortfall for this year, council officers said reduced income generation is “likely to continue to affect us until there is easing of the [Covid-19] restrictions”.

Despite these concerns, trading standards in Harrow and Brent approved its latest fees and charges for businesses as normal, with some minor increases for 2021/22.

Property management penalties will range between £5,000 and £30,000 depending on the level of any breach in regulations, while registration fees for properties to be auctioned will be set at £356.

In terms of fireworks licences, while the cost of each one can vary, the report noted it is typically around £55 for short-term use and up to £500 for a year-long document.

Hourly weights and measures fees and advice from local authorities will increase by an inflationary rate of 1.2 per cent, while other councils seeking to use the department’s financial investigator will be charged £42 an hour, up £1 from last year.

Finally, trading standards expects to see charges imposed on brands involved with event days at Wembley Stadium – including this summer’s Euro 2020 matches – for officers’ services.

These range from £61 to £91 an hour but are managed by Brent Council’s licensing department.