Manchester City Council

The Budget Holes

Friday 24th November,2017.      
Greater Manchester Combined Authority is meeting in Stockport this morning with the big discussion being this week’s budget, even though it doesn’t appear on the agenda. Greater Manchester was the only place to have a specific statement attached to the budget and there were undoubtedly some positives for us including an additional £243m of transport funding over the next four years and an agreement that GM will pilot a local industrial strategy. 
The positives were acknowledged but not surprisingly more of the discussion was about what wasn’t in the budget and I’ll mention just four of those. Firstly, even though local authorities up and down the country are recording massive pressures on their children’s and adults services budgets, not a penny extra was made available. When we ask the public in Manchester about their priorities adult social care is right up at the top, and so is crime and anti-social behaviour. This budget made no mention of policing, community safety or counter-terrorism whatsoever.
Similarly the Department for Education seemed to have opted out of the budget process altogether. As we develop a local industrial strategy, skills will absolutely be at the heart of it. We need a skills offer and independent advice and guidance that raises aspirations and  that has a clear relationship to the opportunities in our local economy and that will only be delivered through devolution. And finally, public sector pay. Local government and local government workers need to be able to negotiate a fair pay settlement and for that to be funded. The ongoing freeze isn’t fair.
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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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