THE leader of Halton Council has pledged to protect services despite government budget cuts.

Cllr Rob Polhill fears the authority could lose a further £9 million in the coming year.

As he reinstated his executive board today following the local election, he vowed to continue serving the borough with strength and conviction.

The executive board is the main decision making body of the council and is make up of 10 members who have responsibility for particular portfolios.

Cllr Polhill is responsible for overall leadership, strategy, corporate plan and policy, regional, national, international affairs and advocacy on external bodies.

He said: "We want to maintain stability whilst we cope with the drastic cuts and changes the Government imposes on us.

"We could lose as much as £9 million in the coming year but we still want to look after the most vulnerable and keep as many services as we possibly can."

By 202, the authority will have lost £63 million of government funding, 61 per cent of its income.

Hale ward Cllr Mike Wharton, who looks after finance, remains deputy leader.

All the other portfolios remain the same with the exception of two which are increasing in responsibility.

Cllr Marie Wright, who looks after health and wellbeing will be taking on One Halton, a new partnership board set up as part of the authority's health agenda.

Cllr Tom McInerney will not only be responsible for children and education, but also social care.

Other portfolios remain the same: transportation (Cllr Stan Hill), community and sport (Cllr Phil Harris), community safety (Cllr Dave Cargill), economic development (Cllr Eddie Jones), resources (Cllr Mike Wharton), environmental services (Cllr Stef Nelson) and physical environment (Cllr Ron Hignett).

Cllr Andrea Wall has been appointed as a new member of the executive board without a portfolio.

Committee chairmen are also remaining the same with the exception of the regulatory committee which Cllr Pam Wallace is taking over from Cllr Cath Loftus.

Committees will be chaired as follows: appeals (Cllr Kevan Wainright), business and efficiency (Cllr Martha Lloyd Jones), children and young people (Cllr Mark Dennett), corporate services (Cllr Bob Gilligan), development control (Cllr Paul Nolan), employment, learning and skills (Cllr Andrew McManus), environment and urban renewal (Cllr Bill Woolfall), healthy Halton (Cllr Joan Lowe), safer Halton (Cllr Dave Thompson), scrutiny co-ordinator (Cllr Tony McDermott) and standards (Cllr Peter Lloyd Jones).