Manchester City Council has today (Friday 3 March 2023) set its budget, including its element of Council Tax, for 2023/24.
More than half of the Council’s £736.2m revenue budget will go on helping those most in need – caring for and supporting adults, children and people facing homelessness (£441.2m, 60%.)
The next biggest slice goes on neighbourhood services such as waste and recycling, maintaining roads and pavements and providing parks, libraries and leisure centres (£108.5m, 15%.)
Growth and development – helping attract investment and jobs and get much-needed homes including affordable homes built – and a range of behind-the-scenes services which enable staff to work for the city together account for 14% (£102.7m.)
The remainder goes on corporate budgets to help fund the city’s public transport, invest in building projects and provide contingency funding to help the Council meet any unexpected costs during the year (11%, £82.9m.)
Extra cost of living support
This year’s budget includes £5.5m of additional targeted support for the most vulnerable residents and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to boost their work helping Manchester people who are struggling the most during the cost of living crisis.
There will be further funding for voluntary and community groups providing community hubs, good neighbours groups and other support across the city.
There will also be new support, in addition to existing welfare provision schemes, to help anyone struggling with outstanding Council Tax debts. This is in addition to the Council Tax support scheme which already given tens of thousands of the lowest paid Manchester people substantial reductions in their bills.
Other extra investments
The budget also includes £26.4m extra for adult social care to support our residents, strengthen the social care sector and help ease some of the well-documented pressures on the NHS by discharging people from hospital appropriately.
The budget includes a £4m increase in the homelessness service budget to help manage pressures and give breathing space for savings from increased prevention and reduced use of temporary accommodation to be realised, and £3.3m investment in children’s services to increase prevention and help with higher placement costs.
An extra £1.5m in funding for cleaning and managing the city, and a £0.7m fund for small but urgent improvements around the city – for example fixing broken swings and replacing litter bins – is also included in the 2023/24 budget.
Savings and Council Tax
Set against this, unfunded budget pressures including inflation and the need to ensure services are in a sustainable position to cope with steep cuts to Government funding expected from 2025/26 onwards mean that £36.2m of savings are being brought forward over the next three years. £15.3m of those savings will be realised in 2023/24. They involve efficiencies or increased income generation rather than service reductions.
The Council’s element of Council Tax has increased by 4.99% - a 2.99% general increase plus a 2% precept towards adult social care costs. The Government’s funding settlement calculations effectively assume that local authorities, such as Manchester City Council, with social care responsibilities will increase Council Tax by this amount, the maximum allowed with the requirement for a local referendum.
Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said:
“The Council provides a wide range of services that are used by everybody in the city, whether their lives are going well or they are finding things a bit more difficult and need some extra support.
“We are acutely aware of the cost of living crisis which is why we are providing a vital helping hand to those who need it the most while continuing to invest in the services which help the city to thrive and make it a great place to live in.”
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Finance, said:
“Managing our budget remains challenging. We’ve had to make £428m of savings since 2010 to cope with the impact of Government funding cuts and unfunded budget pressures such as inflation and a growing population.
“It’s a difficult balancing act but we continue to look to the future for the whole city and its people as well as ensuring that support is in place for those who need it right now.”