THE financial health of Cheshire East Council has improved, as the latest figures suggest the authority’s Covid shortfall has halved since October.

A report by CEC’s corporate overview and scrutiny committee says the council still faces a £13 million shortfall, but this number is much-reduced from the £26 million estimated in October.

The report added: “However, the financial impact is increasing, due to the increasing number of cases of COVID-19, and at this point it is not clear whether  the forecast shortfall will change; it will be subject to ongoing analysis and review.”

Details were also shared about the grants CEC has received from central government, with the final total being almost £200 million.

More than £95 million was given to the council for business grant support, with CEC already spending £87 million in this field.

It’s a similar story in the business rate holiday budget, with £60.5 million spent from a £62 million fund thus far.

£1.5 million has been spent on the council’s test and trace efforts, which has all come from Westminster funds.

This figure is separate from the £12 billion used for the national NHS Test and Trace service.

It is expected that the council will launch a consultation on the budget for the 2021/2 financial year next month, which will also lay out spending plans until 2025.