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COUNCILS TO BLOW£819M OF RESERVES ON SERVICES

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Councils are raiding their reserves in an effort to maintain services, according to analysis of current year budget...
Councils are raiding their reserves in an effort to maintain services, according to analysis of current year budgets by CIPFA.

Figures compiled using a joint CIPFA, DoE and Welsh Office questionnaire show that councils plans to use £819 million from reserve funds, up £288m (54%) on last year.

The figure outstrips early estimates on the increased use of reserves by £88m (LGC, 20 May) and is also higher than the local authority associations' estimate of £775m published this week.

As well as showing that councils are cutting deep into reserves, the figures confirm early assessments that councils are budgeting to spend at 2% above standard spending assessments and 0.6% (£260m) below the capping level.

According to CIPFA, the increased use of reserves suggests that actual spending plans exceed government guidelines.

It means some councils face tough decisions as discussions commence about next year's budget.

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