Manchester City Council

Have your say now on our draft budget options

The Council has launched a consultation on its plans to make £13.8m of savings in its 2016/17 budget.

The final budget will not be approved until 4 March. Before we make any decisions, we want to hear and consider your views. The consultation runs until 19 February. Visit www.manchester.gov.uk/budget to find out more about detailed options and take part.

The budget position

The Council initially faced a £54.5m shortfall made up of a £27.7m reduction in government funding and £26.8m of unfunded cost pressures such as inflation and a growing population. We also recognise that there is a need to spend more on tackling flytipping, pavement and highways repairs, keeping our streets clean, and other issues raised regularly by Manchester residents. It is proposed to allocate just over £2m extra to this.

Prudent planning has helped ease the needs for cuts, with the airport dividend – paid to the Council because of its large shareholding in Manchester Airports Group – together with increased Council Tax income (more properties paying and improved collection) reducing it by around £25.7m.

Once changes already agreed last year are factored in the remaining shortfall is reduced to £18.7m.

Council Tax

The Council has only raised our element of the charge once since 2010/11.

But government funding levels assume Council Tax will be increased to protect essential services. Councils have been told they can increase Council Tax by up to two per cent to help protect adult social care – this would reduce the budget gap by £2.5m.

Government funding to freeze Council Tax bills has also ended. An additional 1.99 per cent rise to support services would raise almost another £2.5m.

This potential total increase of 3.99 per cent would amount to £31.18 a year increase on a typical Band A property and still leave Manchester with one of the lowest average bills in the country.

Previous cuts

The extra funding through Council Tax would reduce the remaining budget gap to £13.8m.

We have already had to make savings of £309m 2010/11-15/16.

Manchester City Council’s spending power will have gone down by £770.55 per dwelling over the same period, meaning the city has suffered the seventh largest reduction of any council area in the country.

If Manchester had received the national average funding reduction over this time the city would be £75m a year better off.

What they say

Council leader Sir Richard Leese said: "The enormous cuts to our funding from central government over the last five years meant we have had to make extensive savings. We have coped but it has been far from easy. While the headline savings figure this time round is smaller, mostly due to our prudent planning, we will still face difficult challenges because of the cumulative impact of all the cuts to our government funding.

"But our focus remains the same – to provide the leadership to support a world-class city with a growing economy and better lives and opportunities for the people who live here."

Councillor John Flanagan, Executive Member for Finance, said: "It is with real reluctance that we are forced to consider an increase to Council Tax. We know times are still tough for Manchester residents and have consistently kept bills low, which is why we have one of the lowest average bills in the country.

"But the latest settlement, on top of previous cuts to our funding, leaves us with little choice. We have to balance this against the need to protect services to some of the people who need them the most as well as investing in sustainable improvements. These ongoing financial pressures mean we have to look at a rise as part of our package of options.

"I would stress that this is very much a draft budget at this stage and that, just as we always do, we will listen carefully to people’s views before putting forward definitive proposals."

Details of the full budget proposals can be found at http://www.manchester.gov.uk/budget

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