CHESHIRE West and Chester Council faces significant financial pressures but is well positioned to respond to the challenges, according to auditors.
District auditor Judith Tench points out that cost savings of £35m were achieved in the Tory controlled council's first year with a target of a further £7m for 2010/11.
The council is facing an overspend this year “which could be as much as £9m" although director of resources Julie Gill is leading action to reduce this to £2m.
Expected balances of £22.5m will provide the council with flexibility to manage a difficult budget.
“The impact of the recession and the comprehensive spending review will present a challenge for the council in preserving services to local people, keeping a strong financial position and delivering value for money," believes the auditor.
And she says the authority, led by Cllr Mike Jones (Con, Broxton), “is also facing local pressures resulting from the prevailing economic conditions and changes in demand for services”.
These include reduced numbers of planning applications, increased benefits applications, lower returns on investments and growth in demand for adult care services and the safeguarding of vulnerable children.