Council accused of ‘hoarding’ millions of pounds for a rainy day
Caerphilly Council has been accused of “hoarding” cash reserves for a “rainy day” in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
Plaid Cymru councillors slated the council after it was revealed its usable reserves have risen to £232m – up more than £50m in just a single year.
The figures came to light in the council’s annual accounts for the last financial year 2021-22.
Cardiff, a much bigger authority, posted reserves of £205m at the end of March 2022.
Councillor Lindsay Whittle, leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Caerphilly Council said: “It is staggering that Caerphilly Council keeps on building and building reserves for a rainy day.
“I’ve got a message for them it’s absolutely chucking it down and people are struggling, really struggling, in this cost of living crisis.
“Quite how the Labour group can propose an increase of 7.9% in council tax when everyone is facing much higher food and energy bills. I want to see zero increase in bills for 12 months.
“Caerphilly Council is hoarding £28m more than neighbouring Cardiff, which is a much larger authority. They are taking the public for fools, pleading financial problems, yet hoarding an extra £50m in one year.
At the end of the 2018-19 financial year usable reserves stood at £118m which rose to £139m in April 2020, since then its increased even further meaning reserves have doubled during the three year period.
Lindsay Whittle added: “They are playing Monopoly with tax payers hard earned cash. They should go to jail, never pass GO and certainly not collect £200m.”
The councillor is now calling for an all-party investigation into the amount and use of usable reserves.
Councillor Colin Mann, who has been raising the issue for several years said: “I have never been convinced that Caerphilly County needs what I feel is an obscene level of reserves.
“Many people feel that taking this money from residents and then sitting on it is taking money under false pretences.
“A reasonable level of reserves is certainly justified but does the council really need more than £230m?”
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