Manchester people are being invited to give their views on options for the Council’s budget 2017-20 following the opening of a consultation.
Now's the time to have your say on Council's budget options for 2017-20
The Council is facing a budget gap of between £40m and £75m by 2019/20. Council officers have outlined a series of options totalling around £60m to address this shortfall through efficiencies and increased income plus some savings through service reductions. Government funding continues to fall as population, demand for services and inflation continue to rise.
The estimated budget gap figures are based on the assumption that Council Tax will increase by two per cent each year to support services for older people and vulnerable adults and a further 1.99 per cent a year to support other services. Even with this increase – which amounts to around 62p a week in 2017/18 for Band A properties which make up the largest proportion of properties in the city - Manchester would continue to have one of the lowest average Council Tax bills in the country. But without it another £17m of savings options would have to be found over the next three years.
For more detailed information about options, and to give your views on them, visit www.manchester.gov.uk/budget
There are separate standalone consultations about budget options relating to future levels of Council Tax Support, the reduction in bills given to the most in-need, and proposals around Sure Start services which can also be found via www.manchester.gov.uk/budget
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “It certainly doesn’t get any easier to produce a budget which invests in the future of the city while protecting its most vulnerable people and the universal services which matter most to Mancunians. We couldn’t – and wouldn’t – do it without listening to them.
“Business as usual is not an option and we have to look at new ways of doing things which work alongside individuals and communities to recognise their strengths and build their capacity to do even more. We’ve already had a budget conversation with residents in which they’ve told us their priorities against which options will be weighed. But we also want to know what people think about the specific options which have been put forward.”
Councillor John Flanagan, Executive Member for Finance, said: “This time round we are going to be in a position to set a three-year budget because we will be given more detail in advance about our funding.
“This gives us scope for better forward planning - for instance reducing the costs of some of the more expensive services to support vulnerable people by putting more emphasis on early support and prevention – so these options are as much about efficiencies as they are about cuts. But inevitably, given the scale of savings we are likely to have to make, there will still be some difficult decisions.
“That’s where the public come in. The options we are sharing are options which our officers have come up with. They are not yet proposals which have been approved by councillors. So we need to know what Manchester people think about them before the proposed budget is produced in the New Year.”
Exactly what level of savings is eventually needed will depend on a variety of factors which determine how much money is available to the Council but the current best estimate is that we will need to save £60 million between 2017/18 and 2019/20.
The consultation will run Thursday 15 December 2016 after which proposals will be drawn up, with a final budget to be approved in March 2017. Copies of the consultation questionnaire will also be available in libraries and the Customer Service Centre in the Town Hall Extension for those who do not have access to the internet.