Food poverty, mental health problems and debt management are among the key issues facing Copeland in its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, a report has warned.

Copeland Council’s overview and scrutiny committee is set to receive an update on the impact of COVID-19 and recovery plans tomorrow which includes 11 areas to focus on that have been highlighted or exacerbated by the pandemic.

Other areas identified by the council's report are: promoting physical activity; tackling digital exclusion; the need to build community group and third sector capacity; addressing uncertainty about future employment prospects; referring patients to the right support; supporting businesses in tourism, retail and hospitality in particular; working on town centre resilience; and supporting test and trace.

Elected mayor Mike Starkie said the council was ready to tackle challenges arising from the pandemic and admitted some of the biggest issues may not be obvious yet.

He said: “The effects aren’t over yet and this pandemic is far from over but we have got to be adaptable, flexible and address known and unknown issues as they arise.”

Mr Starkie said the council was in a good position due to work it had done to tackle social issues since he was elected five years ago and would continue to work with partners during and after the pandemic to make them a priority.

“What we’ve had in Copeland over the past five years is probably one of the best social programmes in the UK,” he said.

“One thing that we’ve done and focused on in the past five years is that in the current climate of tight budgets, you can’t do everything on your own.”

He said the council would also need the continued financial support of the Government but that it would need to make convincing business cases to get that help.

The report also advised the council would need to examine its projects, prioritising some, stopping others and developing new ones as part of a “reboot” post-pandemic.

It said: “Through analysis of COVID-19 impact data we will need to prioritise existing projects (including maybe stopping those that have served their purpose or no longer have a purpose in the post-pandemic Copeland) and may need to develop new ones to fill obvious gaps as evidenced by the data.”

Mr Starkie stressed it would be a case of evolution and said elements of life during the lockdown, such as more remote working, could be developed.