At a Lincolnshire County Council media briefing an assurance was given that although heavy cuts are being proposed, £14.9million will be retained in an emergency reserves coffer.
This is likely to be ringfenced whatever the financial pressures the authority experiences in the day-to-day running of services.
This special fund is in case monies are required for some out-of-the-blue event such as a weather catastrophe or a series of hefty insurance claims. However, along with some (but not all) other councils, the Lincoln-based authority has, in recent years, bowed to Government pressure by spending more and more of its other “reserves” to support its statutory commitments to the community.
“It is not appropriate to hold large amounts of cash when services are being reduced,”explained council leader Coun Martin Hill.
As a general rule, the council puts aside between 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent of its annual budget as money to be used only in unforeseen emergency circumstances.
• At the meeting Council leader Coun Martin Hill was unable to provide much fresh information on medium-term proposals for devolution – in other words more co-operation between the various tiers of local government to share or merge services.
Even if this happens, he claimed that the outcome would only be “fiscally neutral”– in other words, not much money would be saved.
Neither is the county council expecting to benefit much from any increase in population as the result of the building boom.
Although there would be an increase in council tax income, there could be pressures down the road – particularly if an increase in the number of retired people living in the county starts to put additional pressure on adult care services.