CHESHIRE East Council has returned a budget surplus of nearly a million pounds for the last year.

The council underspent by £900,000 against its budget of £260m for 2013/14.

The surplus money will be returned to the people of Cheshire East through a series of grants to local community groups.

The Council Leader Michael Jones welcomed the news.

He said: “I am delighted to announce this budget surplus, which is the result of a lot of hard work in ensuring the council does more with less.

“Since I became leader of Cheshire East in 2012, we have kept a relentless focus on improving value for money for the council taxpayers in Cheshire East.

Clr Jones added: “We have frozen council tax for four years in a row and I am already confident we will do so next year as well.

"At the same time, we have defended frontline services, delivering on our promise not to close any libraries or leisure centres.”