LABOUR Councillor Marilyn Houston is to become Cheshire East council’s newest cabinet member, as she becomes the deputy cabinet member for adult social care and health.

The authority says it is making the move due ‘additional pressures created by the Covid-19 pandemic’.

Cllr Houston will support the existing portfolio holder Cllr Laura Jeuda by ‘ensuring that older people in the borough, who were shielding, received all the support they required, including deliveries of food and other essentials’.

Cllr Houston, who represents the Crewe West ward, said: “I am looking forward to working with Cllr Jeuda and all the council’s partners at this key time, in ensuring that the people of Cheshire East are provided with health and social care services that enable them to live longer and healthier lives.”

Cllr Jeuda said Houston ‘will be a great asset to ensuring that our residents are served well’ in ‘challenging and uncertain times’.

Cllr Houston, who joined the council in 2019, is also the former mayor of Crewe and was recently appointed the council’s equality, diversity and inclusion member champion. She has previously served on the health and adult social care and communities overview and scrutiny committee.

Her appointment comes at a time when CEC leaders are warning that it is a ‘critical time’ to avoid a second wave of Covid-19 cases.

Latest figures show a rise of 33 cases in the borough in the week up to August 29.

Since the start of the pandemic, 2,406 cases have been recorded in Cheshire East, with 549 deaths registered.

If Cheshire East were to experience a second wave, leaders say it will worsen the council’s financial position, with CEC revealing this week it expects to take a £50 million hit due to the pandemic, and therefore faces a £28 million shortfall in its budget.

The appointment is being described as ‘cost-neutral’ to the council and taxpayer.