Jane Storey

Cash reserves at Suffolk County Council increase as budget’s cut

Monday, January 7, 2013
10.36 AM

Cash reserves at Suffolk County Council rose by more than 30pc last year – as the authority cut its budget in an attempt to balance its books.

The “useable” reserves held by the county increased from £78.4m to £102.9m – a rise of more than 31pc.

When schools’ funds, and other money to which the county has no direct access, are taken into account the reserves went up by £35m to £166m.

District and borough councils across the county have seen their reserves remain relatively stable – the overall reserves held by these councils in Suffolk went up from £114m to £116m between 2011 and 2012.

The county council is expecting to face more grant cuts over the next few years – between 2014-15 and 2017-18, it is expecting to lose about £70m.

With inflation and demographic pressures – especially an ageing population – the council fears it will need to bring in savings of up to £140m.

Jane Storey, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for finance, said: “As an organisation accountable for hundreds of millions of public money, Suffolk County Council has to manage its finances responsibly.

“Reserves are a part of that responsible management and are used to fund a number of specific large scale programmes as well as provide security in the event of a major incident which the council has to respond to.

“The important thing to remember about reserves is that they are a one off amount of money and once spent, can only be replaced from other sources of funding or reductions in spending.”