Manchester people have been getting involved in many ways in our longest, most detailed and varied budget consultation process ever, giving us great insight into what matters most to Manchester. We've used that to produce proposals that we think reflect what Manchester wants to do with the resources we'll have over the next three years.
We've used different ways of involving people over the past six months to arrive at these proposals. Since July thousands of people have joined in the first two phases of our budget consultation:
21 July to 16 September 2016 – budget conversation
We asked: what matters most to you, your family and your community and how could we work together to make more of what you value most?
3 November to 15 December 2016 – budget options consultation
We asked: what are your views on the wide range of options we could choose from to meet an expected budget shortfall of between £40million and £75million? Tell us what you think and how you could be affected.
3 January to 10 February 2017 – consultation on actual budget proposals
Once the exact reductions in Government support for services were announced we consulted on our actual budget proposals. Our proposals drew on nearly six months of listening to Manchester's views and comments, but we took further views into account to help set our final budget at a Council meeting on Friday 3 March.
All this made this a very different budget:
- covering three years, not one
- consultation starting months ahead of usual
- talking and listening to different people in new ways
- having some more power over spending locally.
Months of conversation and consultation have given us a good idea what matters most to Manchester. But it's also showing how people can support or improve what they care about.
This should give us a three-year budget that:
- puts us on track to keep our city growing
- reflects what people value most; and
- helps control future demands on public services.
We've listened over past months to what people think about the options put forward to balance our budget. But although we've tried to protect services that people value most, we must set a balanced budget and we must propose some difficult choices.