Copeland is not “COVID-resilient” despite the presence of Sellafield, the chief executive of the borough council has warned.

Pat Graham told Copeland Council’s overview and scrutiny committee it was “very important” to remind the rest of the county that the area still faced many of the same issues, even with such a large employer.

She said the Government had stepped in to support wages for contractors on the nuclear site and ensure their skills and capabilities would be retained as it opened back up but that the future was uncertain.

“There’s still a concern that, when furlough ends, will there be redundancies within the supply chain,” Mrs Graham said.

“What we’re saying is, for us, we might be trailing the rest of Cumbria in some of those impacts."

Mrs Graham was updating the committee on the impacts of coronavirus on the area and said the council was positioned to “reboot” from COVID-19 because it had been working to tackle inequalities, support young people and modernise its economy.

However, she stressed that problems like food poverty and mental health issues which were already prevalent had been exacerbated by the pandemic.

It was revealed that the council had seen increased referrals for anti-social behaviour and crime and disorder in the borough, while domestic violence was also highlighted.

Mrs Graham said that people who were already excluded with limited access to technology or the internet, particularly children, had been “more disadvantaged” and isolated.

She also said there had been a “worrying trend” of male suicides in the area.

Some benefits which had come out of the benefit were noted, such as a reduced carbon footprint with people being at home more, increased appreciation of local businesses, and the way communities rallied to support each other.

Sam Pollen, who like many councillors has been a member of his local community response group, stressed how difficult it was going to be to tackle the challenges emerging from coronavirus.

He said even before the pandemic almost 4,000 children in Copeland were living in poverty and nearly 15 per cent of households had an income of less than £10,000 a year.

"Those statistics and many others make that challenge of leaving nobody behind very difficult and we all know we've worked very closely with the foodbanks and they have never been busier," he added.