Manchester City Council

Cuts

I last blogged on the subject of the budget on 17th September signposting readers to a presentation made by the City Treasurer to full Council. Anyone who followed the link will not have been surprised by this week's press coverage of next years budget options, although the Treasurer's current estimate for the year after next, 2016/7, has improved believe it or not, by around £10m.

The reason for the timing of this week's "announcements" is that next week the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committees begin the process of examining the budget options that have been put forward so far. This is the beginning of the decision making process and no decisions have been yet taken.

We are very dependent on central government funding and we do not expect to receive a provisional grant allocation from them until late December (Merry Christmas). When we get that we will finalise our draft budget, which we intend to publish on or around January 7th. The Council Executive will not make budget decisions until February 13th next year. This means there is a good length of time for people to ask questions, to give opinions and to make alternative suggestions. This is the most difficult budget situation we have ever faced so any help gratefully received.

The options are all set out in papers going to our scrutiny committees (links below) and I don't propose to go into detail here. The bottom line is that largely as a result of government cuts, we will have to take another £59m out of the budget next year. Other commentators, not least our local paper the MEN, have clearly shown that the distribution of the cuts is unfair with the more affluent parts of the country benefitting at the expense of the least affluent. However the Council is required by law to produce a legal, balanced budget by March each year. The only way we can take out another £59m, rising to £91m the following year, on top of the £250m we've already had to cut, means some very difficult and unpalatable choices. We will do our best.

Don't usually use the blog for Q and A, but any questions on the budget I will do my best to answer.

http://www.manchester.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/2201/economy_scrutiny_committee

http://www.manchester.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/2215/finance_scrutiny_committee

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

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