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Liberal Democrat’s shock at £87m pots of money in County Councils Budget

January 22, 2011 10:26 PM

Following a thorough review of the draft County Council budget, Liberal Democrat Councillors have reacted to some of emerging detail from the Conservatives proposals.

It is clear that the Conservatives are hoping to squeeze areas already affected by the cuts to meet the need for further savings totalling £82m over four years. This means services such as the Youth Service, subsidised bus routes and household recycling sites will see further reductions this year and this will have a negative impact on local communities.

However, the Liberal Democrats are also shocked to see that the Council has a total of £87,750,000 stashed away in 'reserves' and contingencies[1]. From details of last year's budget, we know Officers had expected to see the Councils 'Earmarked Reserve' decline from £45m to £34m in 2011. We are astonished to see that the draft budget now reveals this has risen to £66m.

Group Leader Simon Galton said: "we have always recognised the need to have sound financial planning, good reserves and efficient services. The benefits of which are primarily to help the Council provide services when demand is high and funding is short. To us reserves have always been for a "rainy day", and the Conservatives need to consider carefully how much of these reserve pots of money they keep for the future and how much can be used to reverse the impact of cuts on our local communities."

[1] The £87m is made up of £5m contingency for efficiency savings, £7.7m contingency for Inflation, £9m County Fund and £66m in earmarked Reserves