Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 5°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

A small plane kept the Virgin balloon company for part of the trip

Geometrical farmers’ fields, tree canopies and a selfie were all caught on camera when photographer Sarah Lucy Brown flew over the county in a hot air balloon.

Jonathan Glenister, who has been reported missing

Police are searching for a 20-year-old man from Haverhill who has not been seen since Saturday evening.

HMS Rhododendron at anchor in Russia

Talk of VE Day evokes different memories for different people. For Arthur Simmons, it came as he sailed back from Russia.

IPSWICH TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB

Fans of the animated Disney film Frozen will have the opportunity to experience every song and snow flake with an Open Air Cinema Day at Ipswich Town Football Club this summer.

Debenham village parish sign.

The leader of a Suffolk village authority has questioned the electoral process after a representative could not stand for re-election due to citizenship issues.

Delays have been caused by a signal fault

Rail services between Norwich and Diss are having to run at a reduced speed on some lines due to a fault with the signalling system.

The future of RAF Lakenheath will be central to election battle in West Suffolk on May 7

Forest Heath District Council covers a large rural area, stretching from the Cambridgeshire border and Newmarket in the south to the town of Brandon on the Norfolk border.

Blackburn v Ipswich

Ipswich Town have sold almost 2,000 tickets so far for Saturday’s crucial away trip to Blackburn Rovers, and there are still some remaining.

Aerial shot of Ixworth.

Four vehicles collided at a roundabout on the A1088 in Ixworth.

Have you seen any of the livev TV debates ahead of the General Election?

It’s nearly time to cast your vote and with just a week to go before the country goes to the polls, we want to know your current views on several key issues.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages