Overall, English local authorities expect to be holding £10.8 billion in reserves on 31 March 2012. At the same time last year, their forecasts for 31 March 2011 totalled £11 billion.
I've mentioned this little fact before - in the context of Bradford* and Manchester with the former holding over £180 million in reserves and the latter an incredible amount of £260 million plus.
So when your local council whines about the cuts, lays people off now and makes no use of these reserves they are acting irresponsibly. We do need to "re-base" but the impact can be spread, the reductions and services changes properly planned and the decisions made carefully with due consideration of the needs and expectations of local residents.
*Bradford folk will, I'm sure, be delighted to know that over the past two years the Council's reserves have RISEN by nearly £50 million.