Tory leader defends use of Hampshire County Council reserves

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KEN Thornber has defended his council’s use of reserves.

The Hampshire County Council leader has responded to criticism from other councillors and trade union members for his Tory administration’s decision to cut £55m from its annual spending, while having reserves of £214m.

He said: ‘There are some people, including trade unions and politicians who are misleading the public about Hampshire County Council reserves, or some who just don’t understand our position.’

Cllr Thornber explained that the council’s reserves include £39m which must be used for schools and £65m set aside for equal pay claims from staff members.

He said: ‘Reserves should never be used for annually recurring costs.

‘Once those savings are used up they cannot be used again, but the annual recurring costs then continue unless action is taken to reduce them.

‘These are not savings for the sake of it.

‘They are reserves committed against future demands, and they must be kept for those.’