Councils across the West Midlands are sitting on reserves of more than half a billion pounds, Ministers have revealed.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles urged councils to use the cash to protect jobs and services while they face cuts in funding from central government.
He said residents would be “shocked” to find councils still have money “in their piggy banks when they are hearing weekly scare stories of service and job cuts”.
Ministers are to reveal how much Treasury funding each council will lose in a statement before Christmas. Government figures show Birmingham City Council has a nest egg of £71.4 million.
Wolverhampton has reserves of £53.5 million and Solihull has reserves of £39.8 million.
County councils have also been saving, and Worcestershire has reserves of £53.6 million and Staffordshire has £51.5 million. Across the West Midlands, councils have saved £509 million for a rainy day.
But the figures look less impressive when compared to the likely cuts in Government grants to local authorities.
Birmingham received £678 million in “formula grant” from the Treasury for the 2010-11 financial year. Although Ministers have not yet published figures for individual councils, total funding for local government is to be cut by 28 per cent within four years, which comes to £189 million in Birmingham’s case.
Across England, councils have £10 billion stashed away.
Mr Pickles said: “Building up reserves isn’t about turning town hall vaults into Fort Knox. These untapped funds exist to ensure councils can respond to unexpected situations – like the need to tackle the nation’s debt.”