Consultation on budgets for Council services in 2023/24 and beyond
Our budget position
The cost-of-living crisis means hard times for many residents. And the same rising interest rates and economic uncertainty are hitting the Council too, with inflation also pushing costs up.
Our commercial income is still suffering the impact of COVID – And this comes on top of more than a decade of reductions in central government funding which have hit us harder than almost anywhere else in the country.
All this means difficult choices for future budgets for Council services. Despite sound financial management, and smoothing some of the impact using money we have in reserve, we face a budget shortfall of £28million next year, totalling £96million by 2025/26. We must meet the shortfall with a mix of efficiency savings, extra income and cuts.
One of the toughest decisions we must make is about Council Tax, which raises about £2million for each percent increased.
We want to keep any increase as low as possible when household budgets are so strained. But the less Council Tax goes up, the more savings we must find on top of those we’re already considering. We’ve got to balance this against the need to fund essential services that support Manchester people, especially those who are struggling most.
We're proposing a 1.99% increase in council tax to invest in services to support residents through the cost-of-living crisis and deliver on the things you told us were your priorities, plus a 1% precept to protect adult social care. At 2.99% in total this is well below the rate of inflation and much less than the increase in other household bills. Manchester people on the lowest incomes receive help through our Council Tax Support scheme.
Making the most of what we’ve got
We’re sticking to the priorities residents have helped us set, including creating 1,000 affordable homes a year, preventing homelessness, promoting a healthier and happier city, tackling inequalities and creating vibrant neighbourhoods where people want to live – all while leading the drive towards becoming a net zero carbon city by 2038 or earlier.
We must also get the basics right – emptying bins, maintaining parks, libraries, leisure centres and roads, and improving ways for walkers and cyclists to get around.
We propose using around £16m a year of the Council’s reserves to smooth the impacts of savings – temporary support as we develop longer-term savings.
We’re proposing savings of £42.3m over the next three years up to 2025/26 to help close the gap:
- £10m from Adults services
- £1m from Public Health
- £11.7m from Children’s and Education services
- £6.9m from Neighbourhoods
- £4.7m from Homelessness
- £6m from Corporate Core; and
- £2m from Growth and Development
Service reductions will be a last resort; we’ll protect Manchester people’s priorities by making efficiency savings and increasing our income.
We’re cutting costs by reducing demand for services – supporting people earlier so they don’t need more expensive help later, and helping them stay independent for longer. For example:
- £10.4m of the proposed savings in Children’s and Education services over the next three years would come through building on the success of early prevention work and other innovations
- We won’t reduce homelessness services but could save £4.4m over three years by reducing the need for temporary housing, including B&Bs
- Adult social care can save £2.3m over three years in this way too, and £4m more on supported accommodation, day services, transport and short breaks
- We can reduce staffing budgets – but not overall staff numbers – to reflect vacancies and natural turnover, saving around £1.8m.
Proposed income increases include:
- Raising our rental income by £1.6m over the next three years
- Charging for new recycling bins could raise £400,000 in 2023/24
- Advertising income could increase by £300,000 in 2024/25
- Extra parking charges could raise £87,000 in 2024/25
- A 10% increase in bereavement services charges could raise almost £750,000 in the next two years
- Higher fees for Registrar’s services could bring in £160,000 over the same period.
Where we must reduce services, we’ll protect people’s highest priorities if possible, but we propose:
- less roadside grid cleaning, saving £250,000 in 2023/24
- reduced opening hours at Manchester Gallery by a day a week saving £26,000 a year; and
- cancelling New Year fireworks in 2023/24 saving £50,000.
Although our proposals help us stick to the priorities that residents, businesses and our partners have helped us set to make our city fairer for everyone, there remains a gap of £7m next year, rising to £37m the year after. Government decides our funding in December - we'll consult further if other cuts are needed.
This consultation on these savings and proposed council tax levels will make sure that your views are heard as we finalise these difficult decisions. The consultation runs until 7 January 2023 and we’ll consider your views before we finally agree our budget on 3 March 2023.
See summaries of our budget proposals for each Council service:
- Children's Services
- Adult Social Services
- Public Health
- Corporate Core Services
- Growth and Development