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Interactive graph: usable reserves – the big picture

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Usable reserves expressed in days of a council’s net revenue expenditure

The numbers in the graph below show how many days a council’s services could run for if it had to solely rely on its use of reserves to fund them. A breakdown of the amount held in revenue and capital reserves is displayed in an information box when you hover the cursor of your mouse over each column in the graph.

Getting the evidence: How the research was conducted

Using annual accounts, data on usable reserves between 2014-15 and 2016-17 from every English council was collected and compared. Usable revenue reserves include general fund reserves (unallocated balances), earmarked reserves and capital reserves. Specific authorities are not named. This is not due to lack of confidence in the data, but because the ensuing debate generates more heat than light especially as some councils might be able to explain why their finances are healthier than they look.

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