District cash sparks envy

WHILE Suffolk Coastal remains determined not to dip too deeply into its reserves of £16 million, other local authorities in the county today look on with envy.

By Paul Geater

WHILE Suffolk Coastal remains determined not to dip too deeply into its reserves of £16 million, other local authorities in the county today look on with envy.

The Woodbridge-based council has such large reserves because it sold off all its council homes to a housing association 12 years ago, and banked the cash.

Other local authorities still own their own council homes and have much smaller reserves than Suffolk coastal.


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Ipswich council has the smallest reserves. It has a rolling "contingency fund" of £1 million which can be used in an emergency and a further £500,000 contingency for its housing account.

There is a further £1.3 million which is held as the council's general fund reserve.

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"It's not for me to comment on how other councils manage their financial affairs," said Ipswich council finance spokesman John le Grys.

"But so far as we are concerned this is the most efficient way of using our money.

"We have been following the advice of the district auditor and this is the best way to manage our finances," he said.

Babergh council says it will use its reserves to help ease council tax bills – but will not let them fall below the £3 million level by the end of the current financial year in March.

Mid Suffolk council's general fund balance is currently £3.5 million.

Suffolk county council's reserves are the largest of all at £8.7 million, but that is because it has by far the largest budget – at £700 million it dwarfs all the district councils put together.

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