Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

English local authority reserves

Briefing-Paper-LG-Reserves-v12 (2)


Reserves are important to local authorities but with increased financial pressures are CFOs having to use the money to continue service provision?




Jun 2015




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To better understand the reasons local authorities hold reserves, what is driving changes in reserves levels and what authorities intend to use their reserves for CIPFA undertook a survey of local authority finance officials and combined this with existing data on council reserves levels. 

According to survey data, at 31 March 2014, local authorities held £3.7bn in general reserves and balances. This CIPFA Briefing summarises the results of our work, including comments from survey respondents.