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Financial crisis 'would fell Telford & Wrekin Council in 11 days'

Telford | News | Published:

Council services in Telford & Wrekin would grind to halt within 11 days in the event of a financial catastrophe, according to the ruling Labour group.

Council services in Telford & Wrekin would grind to halt within 11 days in the event of a financial catastrophe, according to the ruling Labour group.

Councillors claim the previous Tory-led council raided the reserves to fund a pre-election council tax freeze last year.

But Conservative leader Andrew Eade rubbished the claims.

He said the actual available reserves were two-and-a-half times more than Labour say.

Labour say the council's usable reserves have fallen by 55 per cent since 2007, which means in the event of a catastrophic financial event, the council could only afford to maintain services for 11 days. The national average is 40 days.

Councillor Bill McClements, cabinet member for resources, said: "This news is deeply worrying and I am shocked and appalled that the last administration raided council tax reserves before the elections last May.

"This at a time when we are in the worst economic recession for decades. It was clearly an attempt to buy the election and the people of Telford & Wrekin saw through it.

"This is not the total investments of the council, but the amount of money the council could use immediately should it need to cover a major event or emergency."

He said in 2007/8 the council had £8.3 million in reserve, but in 2012/13 it will be just £3.7 million. But Councillor Eade said the actual figure was £9.3 million.

He said: "It seems to have taken the Labour administration nearly nine months to arrive at this ludicrous and untrue claim as balances available are £9.3 million. In addition, the Conservative administration put aside £11 million into reserves, £5 million of which is now being used by the Labour group in their current budget proposals."

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