We are therefore proposing to increase general council tax by 2.99% plus a 2% adult social care precept – a 4.99% increase in total.
Putting up council tax is not something we do lightly when we are acutely aware that there is a cost of living crisis facing many of us.
But the extra money for adult social care will enable us to support the social care sector more, helping to relieve some of the well-documented pressures on the NHS. We will also be able to provide more targeted help for the most vulnerable people in our city.
Funding from the extra 1% on council tax will also be targeted at supporting our most vulnerable residents and the voluntary sector, who do such valuable work in our city.
Even a 4.99% increase will still be well below inflation and less than the increase to other household bills. Our strengthened Council Tax Support scheme will also mean that Manchester residents on the lowest incomes will get more help with their bills.
Our financial position
Our financial position remains challenging against a backdrop of high inflation (even higher now than when we first consulted), rising interest rates and a volatile economic climate.
This comes on top of more than a decade of central government funding cuts to our budget, even as our city and the need for our services grew. Manchester was one of the hardest hit places in the country by these cuts. Since 2010, we have had to make £428million of savings to cope with cuts to our government funding and unfunded budget pressures, such as inflation and a growing population.
We still need to make savings to balance the budget over the next three years and have consulted on proposals as part of the previous consultation. If you have given views on these, they still stand.
We remain firmly focused on delivering your priorities – from overseeing the building of 10,000 affordable homes over ten years to leading the charge to become zero carbon by 2038; from promoting a healthier and happier city to creating vibrant neighbourhoods and investing in your parks and roads.
Your views in this consultation will help inform decisions about council tax levels.
Increasing the council tax on empty homes
Government rules currently allow us to charge a 100% council tax premium on any unfurnished homes that have been empty for over two years, doubling the charge absentee owners must pay. This is to encourage owners of long-term empty properties to bring them back into use.
Planned changes to those national rules would reduce the period after which we are allowed to charge double to just one year. We are considering charging owners and landlords the extra 100% premium after one year.
In addition, planned national changes would allow councils to charge a 100% premium on empty, furnished homes (second homes and rental properties between tenants) as well. This will mean second home owners and landlords with furnished properties will pay double council tax for any period that their property is empty. We are also considering charging this higher rate of council tax for empty, furnished properties if we are allowed.
Take part in the consultation
Have your say on our proposals by Tuesday 7 February 2023.