Unusable reserves

I have been trawling my way through SOUTHEND-ON-SEA BOROUGH COUNCIL STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS 2011/12.

This is not an exciting read, and neither is an easy one – especially for someone like me who is not an accountant.

I was intrigued by the term ‘unusable reserves’, especially as these had been reduced by the colossal sum of £180,450,000 in just two years. Bearing in mind that whatever the Council owns is owned on behalf of the tax-payers of the Borough, this loss equates to over a thousand pounds per resident.

Here are some numbers regarding the total value of the unusable reserves for the last three years:

At 31 March 2010 these were £512,961,000.

At 31 March 2011 these were £478,387,000.

At 31 March 2012 these were £332,511,000.

Here is a breakdown of the unusable reserves:

2011 2012
Revaluation reserve £114,533,000 £129,224,000
Available for Sale Financial Instrument Reserve £19,000 £4,000
Capital Adjustment Account £490,838,000 £387,088,000
Pensions Reserve -£126,315,000 -£183,349,000
Collection Fund Adjustment Account £1,922,000 £2,248,000
Accumulated Absences Account -£2,610,000 -£2,704,000
total £478,387,000 £332,511,000

The really big move is in the Capital Adjustment Account. I am still puzzled as to what this really is – I will keep digging.

There is an interesting section on council salaries in the accounts. With all the fuss being made over MPs salaries recently, it is interesting to note that 22 of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s employees earn more than an MP.


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