Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 4°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Bury St Edmunds: St Edmundsbury Borough Council has more than £33million in bank

06:40 17 January 2014

St Edmundsbury Borough Council

St Edmundsbury Borough Council

Archant

One of Suffolk’s borough councils is among the richest of its kind in the country, with more than £33million held in the bank.

shares

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has far more investment money than any of the county’s other district authorities and slightly more than Suffolk County Council (SCC), according to figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government. Its total investment money ranks in the top 15% nationally of the country’s 201 non- metropolitan borough councils.

It has £11m more than neighbouring Forest Heath District Council, which has the second biggest pot in Suffolk. Council leaders said the figures were a result of hard work, but critics warned it was important the authority does not “sit on” the cash at a time when families are struggling to pay bills. St Edmundsbury council leader John Griffiths said the funds were there to be used by the community. He added: “We have a track record of prudent investment of public funds that yield excellent returns for our residents. Our capital has allowed us to invest in projects that attract much wider support.

“Building the Apex, for example, was part of a £100m investment that has transformed Bury St Edmunds’ prospects, and our town centre enhancements in Haverhill continue to lever in wider investment.

“The money is there to be used for the community and we work hard to get the maximum benefit from it for our residents.”

At the close of the last financial year, St Edmundsbury had £33.1m in banks and building societies, whereas SCC had £33m split between bank deposits and market funds.

According to each council’s annual accounts, St Edmundsbury had a comprehensive final balance of £8.6m while SCC’s was £114.1m.

Councillor David Nettleton, one of three members of the council’s treasury management committee, said: “Certainly the borough council has tried to manage its money so that it doesn’t get caught short of anything.

“What they’ve tried to do is avoid cutting the basic services. A lot of councils have cut services, but the borough hasn’t really cut anything major.

“Gradually, it’s trying to reduce its expenditure whilst maintaining the level of income.”

Robert Oxley, Campaign director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Councillors are right to plan for a rainy day, but nor should they sit on piles of residents’ cash at a time when families are struggling to pay the bills.

“St Edmundsbury Borough Council should consider using some of these reserves to cut council tax while ensuring its budget is financially sound.”

The figures come as St Edmundsbury gets ready to plan the sharing of services with Forest Heath following the creation of a single-management system last year.

The cost of redundancies following the restructuring of Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury councils to date is £1.6m. This is a one-off cost starting with the chief executives and senior managers in 2012 /13 and now nearing completion.

St Edmundsbury is also facing a 47% cut in grant funding from central Government.

Some of St Edmundsbury’s funds, which total £34.3m in its statement of accounts due to accounting adjustments, are put into short-term investments so they can earn interest while being available to pay for things like housing benefit.

They are made up of capital costs, such as income from selling its social housing stock, and local taxes.

Some of the investment money is also council tax money due to be passed onto other public bodies. The £33.1m is a £1m increase from last year, but way down on the £46.9m it had invested at the end of 2008/09. As of December 31 the figure was £38.4m.

At a cabinet meeting in December, councillors agreed to appoint external fund managers for the first time in a bid to maximise the council’s investments.

Forest Heath has £22m split between banks and building societies. Suffolk Coastal had the county’s third-largest pot, followed by Ipswich, Waveney, Babergh and Mid Suffolk.

Reserves (in millions)

Babergh 4.9

Forest Heath 22

Ipswich 14.5

Mid Suffolk 0.5

St Edmundsbury 33.1

Suffolk Coastal 20.3

Waveney 7

shares

0 comments

Billy Sharp celebrates his winner against Ipswich at Elland Road last night

Leeds v Ipswich: Daryl Murphy’s saved penalty proved crucial as Ipswich Town suffered a 2-1 defeat to Leeds United, at Elland Road, on Wednesday night.

Snape Maltings

Snape Maltings, which rose from the ashes after a fire in the 1960s to become one of the world’s top concert destinations, has been sold.

The Legal & General office in Friars Bridge Road, Ipswich.

The first phase of around 140 job losses at the Ipswich office of insurance giant Legal & General will take effect from the end of this week, the group has confirmed.

Mick McCarthy looks unhappy after Leeds' winning goal

Leeds v Ipswich: Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy could not hide his disappointment and frustration following tonight’s 2-1 defeat at Leeds United.

Chris Wood closes down at Leeds last night

Leeds v Ipswich: The Blues missed the chance to move back into the Championship’s top six, losing 2-1 at Leeds United on Wednesday evening.

Craig D'Cunha, the new principal at Suffolk New Academy.

The new headteacher of an under fire Ipswich school has told parents there will be “no quick fixes” as he aims to make the academy outstanding in three years.

The charity Wiggle-A-Thon at East Bergholt Sports Centre raising money for Age UK.

A group of well-dressed movers and shakers raised over £1,600 for Age UK Suffolk during this year’s Wiggle-a-thon.

Emergency services at the scene of an accident on the A134 at Fornham.

A driver has been taken to hospital in a critical condition with “head and crush injuries” after serious crash in west Suffolk.

Keira Dixon has her new glasses fitted by Wardale Williams branch manager Mark Thompson.

A 17-year-old girl with a brain tumour has launched an awareness and fundraising campaign to help others.

The Old Deanery care  home, Bocking near Braintree

Improvements have been made at a mid-Essex care home which saw former staff charged with assault following undercover filming.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages