William Eichler 18 November 2016

Thanet defends financial record despite ‘signicant risks’ from low reserves

Thanet defends financial record despite ‘signicant risks’ from low reserves image

Thanet council has defended what it describes as its ‘record of sound financial management’, despite an internal budget report warning the council faces ‘signficant risks’ because of low reserves.

The Kent council has reported it only has £6.6m in its reserves, despite a 2015 review by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) suggesting a local authority the size of Thanet would normally hold in excess of £20m.

A budget strategy report said the council had ‘suffered a number of unexpected, unbudgeted events’ in recent years, including a ‘sizeable overspend’ on Dreamland heritage park.

The report warned Thanet carried ‘significant risk by holding such low levels of reserves’ and added that ‘even the £20m average reserves of a typical district may be on the low side’ due to a number of inherent risks such as owning and running a port.

The council defended its financial position and said it had a ‘solid track record of sound financial management’ having received a clean audit for 2015-16 from its external Auditors.

A council spokesperson said: 'Over the last four years Thanet District Council has had to manage a reduction of nearly 40% in revenue support grant from Government.'

They added: 'We have stabilised the financial position and are working hard to ensure our reserves are replenished.'

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