AROUND a dozen city council jobs are at risk of redundancy as the impact of Covid continues to bite.

The council is considering making the job cuts for staff at the Guildhall because the building will be largely closed for general hire for the next 12 months.

City councillors on the scrutiny committee heard there are 13 posts and only two will be retained in a caretaker role, with the other 11 at risk.

Cllr Neil Cutler, deputy leader, told the committee the redundancies would "help stem mounting losses from what is already a loss-making building." He said he hoped they can be deployed to fill vacant posts.

The committee heard that the Guildhall will partially reopen for events but 'venue only' with no staff or bar/catering provided.

The decision-making committees in the Guildhall will continue to meet virtually with a review in December. Cllr Cutler said social distancing was the issue and there are current restrictions that limit the number of people in meetings to just 30.

The council has had to revise its budget following the pandemic which has greatly reduced its income from parking, the Guildhall and fees, rents and charges.

Income reduction is estimated at between £5.4m and up to £9.3m if there is a second spike in Covid-19. A potential deficit in the general fund of £10.7mis predicted by March 2021.

The Government is stepping in with around £5.5m in emergency funding and the council will also look to its reserves.

Savings have been made with the cancellation of the May 2020 elections and Criterium and the deferring of expenditure. A £42,000 management post for the Station Approach scheme and consultancy support has been postponed with the "project subject to review", according to a council report.

The budget report will go on to the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday September 16.

Cllr Caroline Horrill, leader of the Conservative group, raised the issue of the Bapsy bequest from the late Marchioness of Winchester which paid for the renovation of the Guildhall around 10 years ago. She queried whether the council may fall foul of the bequest terms by keeping the Guildhall closed.

Council chief executive Laura Taylor gave assurances that the council was not breaking terms of the bequest.