Lancashire County Council holding £110million in reserves

A COUNCIL has come under fire for holding £110million in its reserves.

Lancashire County Council's balance is the seventh highest in the country. Essex council is top at £200million.

The county council is facing making thousands of staff redundant as it has to save £186million over the next three years.

But Communities Secretary Eric Pickles urged councils to raid their 'piggy banks' to ease the impact of cuts.

Council chiefs said reserves could be used in the short term, but stressed it was no surprise the reserve was so high given that it was one of the biggest councils in the country.

Figures weren't provided for other East Lancashire councils.

Across the country a total of £10billion is held in councils' reserves.

Mr Pickles said local people would be shocked at the scale of the unused money - although some has to be set aside by law for specific purposes.

"Good financial planning is about putting a little extra away when the sun is shining so you have some cover during the rainy days," he said.

"But building up reserves isn't simply about turning town hall vaults into Fort Knox. These untapped funds exist to ensure councils can respond to unexpected situations like the pressing need to tackle the nation's unprecedented level of debt.

"I'm sure many residents would be shocked to find local authorities still have over £10 billion in their piggy banks when they are hearing weekly scare stories of service and job cuts.

"Just like any household facing challenging times, all good councils should be considering the merits of temporarily dipping into the money they have set aside."

Phil Halsall, deputy chief executive of Lancashire County Council, said they were already implementing Mr Pickles' ideas.

He said: "We've drawn funding from the county council's reserves to fund local services in each of the last two years and will be proposing to do so again next year."

Comments (5)

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8:25am Thu 2 Dec 10

slackerbtch says...

Oh yeah thats a great plan, dip in to your savings to pay your bills.
Oh yeah thats a great plan, dip in to your savings to pay your bills. slackerbtch

8:47am Thu 2 Dec 10

DaveBurnley says...

"Mr Pickles said local people would be shocked at the scale of the unused money".
I'm not shocked, it's a wise move to save money like this. This reserve allows the council to spend money on projects and unforeseen expenses without borrowing from banks.
"Mr Pickles said local people would be shocked at the scale of the unused money". I'm not shocked, it's a wise move to save money like this. This reserve allows the council to spend money on projects and unforeseen expenses without borrowing from banks. DaveBurnley

8:53am Thu 2 Dec 10

mavrick says...

Keep up eric, the truth is your treachery and spineless policies have caused utter chaos and misery to the innocent people of this country. if it was not for the financial planning of the councils where would we be with you in charge. your principles are more flexible than your policies.
If you still had one ounce of self respect you would resign and go.
Keep up eric, the truth is your treachery and spineless policies have caused utter chaos and misery to the innocent people of this country. if it was not for the financial planning of the councils where would we be with you in charge. your principles are more flexible than your policies. If you still had one ounce of self respect you would resign and go. mavrick

2:27pm Thu 2 Dec 10

A Darener says...

With interest rates so low it is better to spend the money than get very little return on the money saved. Money can be borrowed in an emergency at a reasonably low rate. With inflation taken into account savings are actually running at a loss.
With interest rates so low it is better to spend the money than get very little return on the money saved. Money can be borrowed in an emergency at a reasonably low rate. With inflation taken into account savings are actually running at a loss. A Darener

8:40am Fri 3 Dec 10

mr cameron says...

sounds about right, i ruin my car on these pot hole ridden roads costing mehundreds of pounds
sounds about right, i ruin my car on these pot hole ridden roads costing mehundreds of pounds mr cameron

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