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Pressures mount as Cheshire East council faces £7m overspend for services

The council needs to fill a £7m finance gap by the end of the year, figures have revealed. A mid-year review predicts Cheshire East Council will overspend by £7.3m by the end this financial year.

The council needs to fill a £7m finance gap by the end of the year, figures have revealed.

A mid-year review predicts Cheshire East Council will overspend by £7.3m by the end this financial year.

Services face a total overspend of £21.9m, but so far, £14.6m of savings have been identified to mitigate this.

The most stretched department is adult social care and it was feared the department could overspend by £11m – but a series of measures have brought down the estimate to £4m.

Adult care councillor Janet Clowes said: "It comes as no surprise that the adult budget is one under constant, immense pressure.We have a great deal of statutory responsibilities placed upon us."

As part of the spending squeeze, savings worth £42m have been found in capital projects over the next four years by either reducing costs or deferring them.

Despite the projected overspend, the finance cabinet member, Peter Raynes, said figures were improving.

On the capital reductions he said: "This has been done, not because we have stopped investing but because we did a detailed analysis of what we had on that agreement to check it met our priorities.

"As a result, we have been able to reduce substantially the amount of money, theoretically, we would be spending this year."

One project still going ahead is the £3m resurfacing scheme for roads across the borough.

That amount will rise to £10m next year and £10m the year after which was welcomed by all councillors at the cabinet meeting at Macclesfield town hall on Monday.

Reserves are also forecast to increase by £1.1m to £12.5m by the end of the year. However an independent councillor said the figures made grim reading.

Shavington councillor David Brickill said: "At the half year they are more than £6m overspent on a £239m budget and the reserves, which are supposed to end up at £21m at year end, are now expected to be only £12.5m – well below the £15m safety net to cover risks."

He added: "The administration is continuing to be a maladministration and not running the council the way it should be."

 
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