BRIGHTON and Hove City Council has £30 million which could be used to pay for children’s centres and other services, it has been revealed.

The local authority has £39.5 million in general fund reserves, £9 million of which is recommended by the chief finance officer to be maintained as working balance, according to documents.

Some of the rest could be used to pay for services including the under threat children’s centres. However, this is unlikely, a council spokeswoman told The Argus.

The news comes after The Argus launched the Save Our Centres campaign against proposed cutbacks to children’s centres.

The authority said it would be forced to introduce the savings if a near 6% rise in council tax was not introduced when councillors set the 2015/16 budget next week.

Mother-of-two Sian Messer, 32, of Bevendean, said: “You can see why the council can’t use all the money but to save the children’s centres from cuts, even for one year, wouldn’t even touch £30 million. Why do they invest in other things but not in our children?

“The Save Our Centres campaign has been good as it has highlighted the concerns of families. It just shows The Argus is interested in the future of Brighton and not just the here and now.”

UKIP Councillor Leigh Farrow said the public would like to know why the council isn’t looking at the reserves to help with funding.

He said: “Surely if there was a time to try and protect frontline services it is now.”

The council reserves are reviewed at least twice each year.

The spokeswoman added: “This can free up some reserves to support either the budget or other one-off commitments.

“The review will take into account the purpose for which the reserve was set aside and consider costs still to be met.”

“One of the largest reserves is the joint waste disposal PFI contract, of £5.2 million, and is held to meet future payments over the rest of the 35-year contract.

“The council’s self insurance fund of £6.5 million is determined through independent actuarial valuation over which the council has no say. “In practice, most reserves have a specific purpose and it is unlikely significant sums could be released.

“So, yes, in theory freed up reserves can be used to support the revenue budget but it is likely to be a limited sum and they are only one-off money and once used, cannot help future years.”