MENTAL health problems and bad backs easily outweigh coronavirus when it comes to town hall sick days.

Anxiety and stress have accounted for more than a third of council staff absences between April and August.

This was ahead of musco-skeletal complaints (26 per cent) and digestion-related ailments (7.8 per cent).

The council's overview and scrutiny committee was told that Covid-19, diagnosed and self-diagnosed, accounted for 5.3 per cent of absences, over the period.

Councillors have heard that the sickness rate for the authority is currently 3.2 working days per full-time employee.

This would put the council on course for a year-end performance of 7,8 days, which would be the lowest on record.

Last year the sickness rate was 11.33 days per full-time employee, with mental health conditions at the root of 41.3 per cent of days off.

The most affected departments were adult social care, economy and education, and early years and skills, the scrutiny committee heard.