Press release

Councils have over £22 billion in reserves

New figures published today show that England’s 444 local authorities hold £22.5 billion in non-ringfenced reserves.


In the last 15 years, the amount held by local authorities in their non-ringfenced reserves has increased significantly – by nearly 170% in real terms.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said that he recognises the need for councils to be responsible with taxpayers’ money and save for the future but they should also make efficient use of their assets and resources to best meet the needs of their local communities.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said:

With local government accounting for a quarter of all public spending, it is right that they are called on to play their part in dealing with the deficit.

Today’s figures show how they are well placed to do so, with local authorities holding £22.5 billion held in non-ringfenced reserves – up 170% in real terms over the last 15 years.

As we continue to secure our country’s economic future and cut the deficit, now is the time to make efficient use of their assets and resources to provide the services local people want to see.

Further information

Today’s figures show that over the past year, local authorities added nearly £1 billion more to their non-ringfenced reserves – taking the total to £22.5 billion.

This is up from the £13 billion local authorities held in 2010.

Today’s local authority revenue expenditure and financing statistics include this statement:

In real terms from 2000-01 to 2014-15, revenue expenditure (local authority spending) has risen by 20.5%, government grants awarded to local authorities have risen by 21.1%, and Council Tax has risen by 21.4%. In real terms, non-ringfenced reserves have increased by 169.9% from 1 April 2001 to 1 April 2014.

Public satisfaction with local services has increased over the past 5 years.

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Published 19 November 2015