Monday, January 7, 2013
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.”