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Suffolk: Labour leader calls on council to dip into £17m reserves - should the money be used to support the most vulnerable in our community?

06:00 21 January 2014

Should we raid council reserves?

Should we raid council reserves?

County council reserves should be used to ease some of the worst affects of proposed spending cuts, the main opposition at Endeavour House has said.

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Labour group leader Sandy Martin said the county’s contingency reserve – money that is not set aside for any specific purposes, but held in case of a “rainy day” – would have increased from £11.4 million on March 31 last year, to £17.1 million on the same day this year.

He said: “At a time when the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government is slashing funding for councils, it is absurd that Suffolk is still squirrelling money away like this.”

Mr Martin was speaking as the county’s cabinet prepares to debate the budget for the 2014/15 financial year at its cabinet meeting next week.

It is planning to make cuts of £38.6 million over the next 12 months. Among the largest savings will come from the end of the contract with Customer Service Direct (£9 million) and from the start of the new incinerator at Great Blakenham (£8.2 million).

However Labour says the savings will hit those who need support – and says it would be better to use some of its reserves to support these policies.

Cabinet member with responsibility for the budget Colin Noble said the total reserves were coming down from £129 million to £117 million, but individual departments’ reserves had been consolidated – resulting in an increase in the contingency reserve figure.

He said: “We have asked departments to prudently take measures to bring their spending under control which is what we are seeing here.

“I know Labour likes to take spending to the absolute limit and then put up council tax bills, but we prefer a more reasonable approach.”

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12 comments

  • 1 man digging a hole out side my shop 7 men and 1 woman all in suits turning up during the day at one time 5 of them 2 with clip boards 1 with a camera all standing around looking at the hole some sand put in it then filled in that's what i call a waist of staff

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    pandy

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

  • Why have we got so much surplus for a rainy day. Spend it on roads, schools, people anything to improve the town and the welfare of the residents. Whatever you do IBC please don't invest it in any foreign banks promising high interest rates(hello Iceland).

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    royg

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • Interestingly, where labour are in power up and down the country they too are adding to their [council] reserves. It seems the call for spending only comes when in opposition - and therefore don't have the responsibility.

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    John Alborough

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • Only problem would be for every pound to be spent 75p would go in administration and extra staff not to the people who need it .

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    pandy

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • By the way I also find the use of the word "raid" in the headline misleading and very loaded. I don't suppose Cllr Martin is suggesting the use of stockings over the head and baseball bats to access these funds. Don't care for the use such tabloidesque scaremogering headlines.

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    Andrew Watson

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • How so Mr Grumpy? How is it robbing taxpayers to spend money on vulnerable folk like the housebound elderly (who will have paid plenty of tax) and other marginalised groups like young NEETS and isolated young rural jobseekers? Cllr Martin suggested some of the held back funds be reallocated to vulnerable groups, that doesn't constitute a "raid." Hysterical headlines provoke hysterical and infantile reactions, generally from people unwilling to use their real names.

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    Andrew Watson

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • They'll only spend it on more traffic lights.

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    beerlover

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • Seems a moderate, sensible and reasonable thing to do to use a proportion of the money held in reserve to support services for the most vulnerable in our county. If this isn't a "rainy day" then when is? As a council tax payer I have to question why excessive reserves are being held by any council of whatever political persuasion.

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    Andrew Watson

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • I'm presuming that you have the figures to substantiate that comment, Pandy. Please share them with us.

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    Andrew Watson

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • @ James M - the savings belong to the tax payer, not SCC!

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    Scott Brock

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • Labour's answer: when we're skint, spend your savings. Wonderful.

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    James M

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • The word "raid" is used presumably because they would be effectively robbing taxpayers.

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    Mr Grumpy

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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