Council under fire over �5m reserves

SUFFOLK County Council was yesterday accused of squirreling away taxpayers' money following a decision to move an extra �5m into reserves.Opposition councillors criticised the move by the authority's cabinet following an under spend in the 2008/09 budget.

SUFFOLK County Council was yesterday accused of squirreling away taxpayers' money following a decision to move an extra �5m into reserves.

Opposition councillors criticised the move by the authority's cabinet following an under spend in the 2008/09 budget.

Labour members said the �5m could have been spent on more worthwhile projects, such as adult care services, roads maintenance, buses, and waste disposal. They said that the addition to Suffolk County Council's �74m reserves was not necessary.

Sandy Martin, Labour spokesman for the environment, said: 'At a time of recession it makes no sense for the county council to make cuts to services. The money is there, and so many things desperately need doing - but the Tories would rather just squirrel it away in reserves.'


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But Jane Storey, Conservative portfolio holder for resources, yesterday said that the opposition's criticism was 'completely misguided' and the council's reserves would be invested in the community.

'Nationally, they [Labour] are bankrupting the country - again. And in Suffolk they put up Council Tax by 18.5pc when they last ran the county council - doubling council tax in 10 years. That's the sort of financial management we can do without.

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'This Conservative administration saw there were difficult times ahead, and so fixed the roof while the sun was shining - saving �60m in three years - on track to save a further �12.5m this year - turning Suffolk into the most cost-efficient county council in England.

'The public rightly expect us to deliver ever-more efficient, value for money services, and this under spend is another demonstration of this in action,' she said.

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