Manchester spending plan set out as 24/25 budget agreed against challenging backdrop for local government

  • Friday 1 March 2024

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The City Council today set its budget, including its element of Council Tax, for 2024/25 at a meeting of the Council (Friday 1 March).

The budget focuses on key areas that will ensure the ongoing success of the city – and continues to support Manchester residents through the cost-of-living crisis.  

Following a challenging Government funding settlement, Manchester has been able to balance its budget for 2024/25 through a range of measures including the planned use of reserves, careful management of current budgets and budget cuts.  

However, reserves can only be used once, and therefore the Council only uses them when they are needed the most. Once they are gone, it reduces the city’s ability to absorb the impact of financial challenges in the future.  

Austerity measures and cuts to local authority funding have meant Manchester City Council has had to make £443m in savings since 2010, against a backdrop of unprecedented population growth, inflationary pressures and rising demand for services, especially for vulnerable young people and adults.  

The Council is committed to ensuring that the most vulnerable people have the necessary support, with funded services that meet their needs, while help is available for those struggling through the cost-of-living crisis.  

The spending plan also looks to make sure Manchester remains a great place to live, with a strong and inclusive economy, while also tackling ongoing hardship and inequality, and boosting opportunities for a better future for all.  

However, Manchester will continue to face challenges and will be under pressure in future years to balance its budget and make sure essential services can continue, if Government finance settlements do not help meet rising costs and inflationary pressures. Currently, the funding gap expected in 2025/26 is £29m, which will increase to £41m by 2026/27. 


Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of the Council said:  

“We know that times are tough for lots of people in Manchester as the cost-of-living crisis continues, but we are determined to make sure that our city remains a great place to live, work and visit.  

“Our finances, not unlike Councils across the country, are also struggling to keep up with the rising costs and demand, particularly in the care sector. This is why making the most of the resources available to us is more important than ever. This is about funding the essentials now, while also tackling long-term hardship and taking every opportunity to create a better future for our residents.  

“We know our residents want us to prioritise spending on the things that are most important to them – including support for our most vulnerable – and these services have been protected and account for a large portion of our budget.  

“While at the same time we aren’t losing sight of the services everybody relies on, despite the financial challenges, the Council remains committed providing a vital support 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.” 


How the Council will spend its budget in 2024/25 – a total of £804m 

Adult Social Care: £247.4m 

The largest part of the budget is focused on caring for and supporting our residents – such as older people and those with learning disabilities. 

The cost of Adult Social Care alone is almost a third of the Council’s whole annual budget – and continues to increase year-on-year - that funds a wide range of support services for our residents.  

This can be anything from care in people’s homes, in day centres and nursing homes, to major funding for property adaptations and home aids to ensure our residents can live independently for longer.  

Last year, we supported 5,300 adults – both older people needing longer-term care and younger adults with learning difficulties. Our reablement service helped more than 1,400 people to live independently at home, with most needing less ongoing care afterwards. 


Public Health: £44.5m 

The well-being of our population is also supported through Public Health spending that helps our population stay healthy and protects people from long-term threats to their health, such as support to stop smoking and immunisations against disease.  


Homelessness: £30.7m 

The Council will also continue to invest in measures to prevent homelessness and help to provide accommodation and other support for those experiencing homelessness.  

We supported more than 3,000 homeless households last year and prevented many others becoming homeless in the first place. 


Children and Education Services and Young People: £156.4m 

This funding is focused on supporting Children and Young people to have the best start in life and set a course to be successful, happy and prosperous adults.  

This includes ensuring the safety of our young people, supporting schools in the city to offer the best education opportunities possible, and encouraging our young people with pathways to training, new skills and employment.  

Last year, we helped almost 5,200 children who needed help, support and protection. This included 1,300 Looked After Children in the direct care of the Council, and more than 800 of them in foster care. 


Neighbourhood Services: £109.3m  

The fund represents a wide range of services that Manchester people rely on in their neighbourhoods – from emptying bins to looking after our public spaces, libraries, leisure centres and roads.  

Within this budget the Council manages 143 parks, oversees 23 libraries and 25 sport and leisure centres. The Council is also responsible for more than 2,000 miles of roads and pavements – and undertakes 30m waste collections a year from nearly quarter of a million homes.  


Corporate budgets: £116m  

This budget helps to fund transport, investment in building projects and provides contingency funding to help the Council plan for further inflation and other unexpected costs.  


Core: £112.5m 

The Core represents the behind-the-scenes services at the heart of the Council, which keep it going and enable Council staff to work hard for the city.  


Finally, Growth and Development: £6m 

This part of the Council oversees building of much-needed housing, attracts investment and jobs to the city, and helps to make sure Manchester people have the skills to share in the success of the city.  

Council officers directly manage around 16,000 homes and we’re spending more than £50m in 2024/25 on building new homes, which is part of a target of 10,000 new social, council and affordable homes up to 2032. 

This service also manages the rental income on buildings owned by the Council commercially, which helps create an income that helps to reduce the Council’s overall budget. 


Further funding decisions to support residents and make sure Manchester is a great place to live:

The Council is investing more than £35m in a package of measures to help residents who are struggling to make ends meet – from hardship funds to increasing Council Tax Support to keep bills low for the poorest households. 

To tackle the impact of climate change and reduce the city’s emissions, the Council has secured £319m - much of it is external funding and therefore doesn’t come from the city’s limited budget – to support the city’s climate change action plan.  

This includes retrofitting thousands of homes to reduce people’s energy bills while also investing in active travel to make Manchester an easy place to get around on foot or bike – these projects also support healthier, happier living.   


Council Tax 

The meeting of the Council also approved a 4.99% Council Tax increase, in line with most English Councils, to make sure that essential services are available to Manchester people. This consists of a 2.99% general increase plus a 2% precept to support adult social care costs.  


Re-watch the Council meeting and view the reports 


Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar, Manchester City Council’s executive member for finance, said:  

“Despite 14 years of austerity, we continue to manage our finances carefully and we were able to balance our budget for 23/24. However, it will take a renewed diligence to overcome the challenges of the years to come.  

“We, like most councils across the country, are under significant financial pressure, but having taken some tough, long-term decisions, we remain in a better position than many. We have become more efficient, we have focused on key prevention models to reduce the need for the costliest services, and we have targeted our investment where it is needed the most.  

“We have undoubtedly challenging times ahead, but we are never complacent – and we are intent on delivering a balanced budget that works for Manchester.” 

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