Manchester City Council

Money

The Council is about half way through a public consultation on it's 2016/7 budget. I'm not proposing to go through it in detail - all of that is available elsewhere - but did want to comment on a couple of aspects of the draft budget. The first is Council Tax.

Manchester is not a high council tax authority. Our Band D Council Tax is the second lowest in Greater Manchester and our average council tax bill is the second lowest in the country. The average increase in the council's share of the overall bill ( Police and Fire set their shares separately ) over the last fifteen years has been 1/2% less than inflation per year i.e. in real terms bills are 7.5% lower now than they were in 2000. Yet next year we, like the majority of the Councils in the country, are proposing to increase the bill by 3.99% .

2% of the increase is effectively mandated by central government to pay for the increased costs of adult social care, but in reality that 2% will meet less than half of the impact of the new national minimum wage alone on social care budgets never mind the impact of demographic change. I'm all in favour of low paid workers getting more money which is why the minimum the Council pays its own staff is the Manchester Minimum Wage, currently equal to the national living wage. However imposing the national minimum wage on all our contractors without the money to pay for it simply means more cuts.

In recent years, Government has paid us a freeze grant to keep the Council Tax down. They have now scrapped the freeze grant and so, like other Councils, we feel we have very little choice but to raise Council Tax by a further 1.9% to mitigate the impact of cuts. Even then we will still have to make a further £13m of budget cuts, on top of those in previous years and Manchester is still being unfairly treated. If we had had the average cut over the last 6 years we would be £75m per year, £1.5m a week better off.

Although we are having to make cuts, we are still looking at how we can respond to citizen priorities. The recent very successful consultation on the Manchester Strategy identified rubbish as a key concern of residents. So as part of the budget proposals we are considering a hit squad to be up and running in April concentrating on dumping and fly-tipping with the aim of catching perpetrators and with a zero tolerance approach to the culprits.

 

There are 4 responses to “Money”

  1. Larry Says:

    I am pleased that litter and fly-tipping is being targeted. Sadly too many people think that they can just throw their rubbish out for others to deal with. Clayton Park, near to where I live, has become little more than a rubbish dump and dog toilet. I hope those who create this appalling situation are brought to book and fined.

  2. Victor Says:

    I'm happy that you are targeting the litterbugs and making efforts to improve the look of the city. However I have a little concern about the works that have been caried out for the tram extension. In several places (like Exchange and Albert squares) the works have left the cobblestones or tiles floors damaged, and they have been repaired with shabby parches of tarmac. I think that diminish the appearance of those places. Is that situation going to be solved soon? Or is it going to be permanent?

  3. Richard Leese Says:

    @Victor the Tarmac is temporary

  4. Not Fooled Says:

    What about the "fantastic for Manchester" £6bn devolution deal with the Tories we've been hearing about for the last 18 months? Wasn't that supposed to account for increases in social care?
    It's all a Poisoned chalice.
    First thing the Tories will do at this council tax increase and any future increases is to point out to their friends in the right wing press that this proves the cliche that Labour councils are incapable of dealing with money,despite being generously given all the power they "asked for."
    They've effectively devolved the cuts for you to make yourselves-they've cleverly admonished responsibility for them.
    Along with taking any opposition down from the inside over the last five years by starving councils of resources and relentless attacks on those that would resist them,you almost have to hand it to them as "mission accomplished"-with barely more than a whimper from the unions,the national or the local Labour parties.
    They've had you all on the hop and you've haf no answer other than to "make a deal." with Osborne and Cameron.Let's hope Mr Corbyn can convince to fight back-and that Manchester work with him to convince the electorate to kick the Tories out before local governments become little more than half a dozen "commissioning officers."
    It's coming.

 

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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