CASH-strapped Inverclyde Council is sitting on a £45 million savings pot, it has emerged.

A day after the Tele told how the local authority is planning to shed some 300 jobs over the next three years to plug an estimated £19m funding gap, we can reveal how much cash Municipal Buildings bosses have stowed away for a rainy day.

The level of 'useable' reserves currently stands at a whopping £45m.

Council officials say the nest egg has reduced sharply in the last two years due to increased spending on building projects and a reorganisation of the social work department.

The authority says nearly 90 per cent of the sum is earmarked for specific use.

This leaves £5.2m of 'free reserves' to play with - £1.4m more than the minimum recommended level - according to a report from the council's chief financial officer, Alan Puckrin.

But the senior official says it does not mean the local authority is flush with cash.

He has warned of 'unprecedented financial pressure and uncertainty' in the short to medium term, hinting at the impact of the ongoing political crisis at Westminster, concerns about Brexit and the continued squeeze on council funding from the Scottish Government.

Mr Puckrin said: "The clear financial advice whether it be for individuals, businesses or public sector organisations is that at times of significant uncertainty then steps should be taken to ensure that resources are in place to address any financial shocks which may occur.

"Therefore in this context, the council's level of reserves and prudent approach to financial management provides a robust base from which to meet the undoubted challenges ahead."

The money is said to be a contingency fund designed to ease 'ongoing pressure on public finances' because of the 'remaining constitutional uncertainty'.

Details of the council's reserves emerged after it was revealed that Municipal Buildings bosses have drawn up a £19m savings plan, including cutting 300 jobs, over the next three years because of funding cuts from the Scottish Government.

In his report, Mr Puckrin spoke of a 'significant degree of risk' to council finances in the short to medium term.

Local authorities are encouraged to have savings and the policy in Inverclyde is for free reserves to be no lower than two per cent of annual turnover.

The amount of money in the coffers had more than doubled to £61m between 2010-17 but that sum has fallen by £16m in the last two years to support spending on capital projects and social work changes.

Inverclyde Council previously had one of the highest levels of reserves in Scotland, according to a review of local government.

While the reserves will act as a buffer to funding cuts and go towards infrastructure projects, a 'significant proportion' of it will also be used to support repopulation.