The Use, Or Not, Of Council (Public) Useable Reserves, Part 2

From the WLBC Chief Operating Officer “Thank you for your email of 21st October regarding the Council’s reserves.

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“As you will be aware, the Council maintain reserves for a number of reasons and many of these are restricted or set aside to meet unforeseen costs, an example being insurance claims. The 2019/20 statement of accounts refers to “usable reserves” of £24.4m, all of which is either earmarked for specific purposes or ring fenced, of this, approximately £1m is set aside to meet uncertainties in government funding within the revenue account, and a further £15.5 m is earmarked for specific purposes. The latter amount includes funding generated from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) monies, which are used in line with the CIL framework.

“Within the £24.4m, are £2.6m of earmarked Housing Revenue Account (HRA) reserves and a further £3.6m of Capital Receipts Reserve that are specifically to be used for HRA purposes only and to fund planned capital projects within our capital programme. You may also be aware that the Council also has a number of ambitious schemes in train, such as our plans to build new leisure facilities in Ormskirk and Skelmersdale in conjunction with our health partners and these projects will require the use of reserves to ensure that these schemes are viable financially.

“I would conclude by saying that our Council officers are working extremely closely with our local business communities to support them through these difficult times. We are working hard to ensure that we respond quickly to government initiatives and establish systems to enable available grant monies to be passed quickly to those in need

“We are continuously working with our members and partners to look at innovative and new ways that we can help those elements of our community that are most vulnerable during these unprecedented and difficult times. You will appreciate therefore that careful and prudent management of our limited finances and reserves is essential to achieve this”.

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