Manchester City Council

The delightful council tax quandary

Budget Council today where we decide on the level of Council Tax and what we need to spend it on. In the process we've uncovered a delightful statistical problem. Does Manchester now, after nine years of successfully restricting the rise in council tax to be at or below inflation, have the second or fourth lowest average Council tax bills in the country?

Depending on how you interpret the stats we might be either but this is certainly along way from where we were nine years ago. The overall increase, including fire and police charges, will be 3%, with the Council element making up 2.5% of that total. 

Normally at Council meetings speeches are mercifully limited to six minutes but on Budget Day the majority party spokesperson on Finance and the main opposition spokesperson are allowed to regale us for twenty minutes each. So what follows is just a tiny extract from what my colleague and executive member for finance, Councillor Bernard Priest, had to say about the budget approved by Council  "We are already able to demonstrate savings of over £20 million per year as a result of the Manchester Improvement Plan and this money will be available to us year on year. It enables us to do three important things; firstly, we can honour our commitment to keeping the council tax rise in line with the rate of inflation; secondly, we can guarantee that we will not cut services - indeed services, particularly to children, older people and those with disabilities will increase to reflect the growth in need; and thirdly, we are able to invest large sums in new projects such as tackling climate change, improving libraries and in new sporting event strategies."

I've now been leader of Manchester City Council for almost 12 years and I'm delighted that the burden of poverty is being lifted faster in Manchester than in any other local authority in the North West. We can be proud that we continue to deliver services which improve the lives of Manchester people, at a cost which is affordable. But I am far from being complacent, far from being satisfied and know there is much more that we need to do.

I am pleased that the excellent work carried out by the police and emergency services, and the demands they face, has been recognised and reflected in the police's element of the Council Tax and that this will allow for over one hundred extra fully trained and equipped police officers devoted solely to neighbourhood policing.  Their work is vital in keeping the citizens of Greater Manchester safe.

Council tax increases and levels acrooss Greater Manchester are as follows:

Council Increase % Band D 08/09
Oldham 0.0 £1,477.14
Salford 3.4 £1,462.26
Stockport 4.7 £1,440.84
Rochdale 4.1 £1,371.03
Bury 3.8 £1,337.33
Bolton 0.8 £1,327.57
Wigan 2.5 £1,309.12
Tameside 2.9 £1,286.96
Manchester 3.0 £1,271.68
Trafford 5.1 £1,209.83
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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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