Investing in communities and people – Council gets ready to set 2022/23 budget
The Council’s budget for 2022/23, including our element of Council Tax, on Fri 4 March – focusing on green spaces, clean streets, youth services, building homes and helping residents out of poverty.
Although Government funding for next year was better than feared, the position remains extremely challenging for the next three years.
Since 2010 Manchester has had to make savings of over £420m, and its spending power reduced by 15% (the average reduction nationally is 2.4%). The financial settlement in 2021/22 meant that the Council had to reduce their budget last year by £40million.
Despite these challenges, the Council is committed to supporting residents and investing in our communities, while ensuring essential frontline services continue for the city’s most vulnerable people.
These investments are part of an overall budget spend of £691m – of which more than half (£55% – £383m) will be spent on adult social care, children’s services and homelessness.
The budget will approve:
- Investment in clean streets and neighbourhoods, parks and green spaces including an extra £700,000 to keep the city clean; as well as new green spaces such as the £23m new Mayfield Park, alongside the Parks in Partnership fund.
- £34m for the community and voluntary sectors to tackle poverty across the city.
- Bringing forward urgent proposals to ensure all providers can afford to pay care workers the Real Living Wage – rather than the lower national living wage – from April.
- £3.2m to help people struggling with rent, along with supporting food parcels and free school meals.
- And making sure as much of our spending as possible stays in the city to support our residents. Last year, £247million was spent with Manchester-based organisations, creating 2,300 jobs and supporting more than 600 apprenticeships.
We have already put £192million of funding in place to support our zero-carbon ambitions – and we’re working to secure more. (See Note to Editors)
The Council is also committed to building more homes and we’re overseeing the building of more than 7,000 new affordable homes, including 2,000 social homes as part of our housing strategy.
We are also using some of our funding to give extra support to the following priorities:
- £700,000 in extra targeted support for those most in need – this will help fund free school meals over the Easter break.
- £700,000 – including £20k for each of the city’s 32 wards – to support focused high priority improvement schemes.
- £500,000 in to the existing £2.74m budget for youth services to strengthen the city’s play offer for children and young people, including four new youth hubs across the city.
- £800,000 to support the delivery of the Council’s Climate Change Action Plan.
Councils have seen more than a decade of cuts in local authority funding and current grant funding remains insufficient to cover our costs.
In 2022/23 we are managing to avoid cuts to services through £7.8m of previously identified efficiencies and the use of £32m of reserves. We will also need to increase Council Tax to help plug the gap – something that Government funding allocations assume we will do.
We are reluctantly proposing to increase Council Tax by 2.99% – a 1.99% core increase plus another one per cent precept to help fund social care support for the most vulnerable in our city.
Without this increase the Council would be left having to make £5.7m of cuts to vital services, including those supporting the city’s most vulnerable people.
The Government funding settlement was ‘front loaded’, with extra one-off funding in 22/23, and does not keep pace with demographic growth and inflation. The indications are that we will have to plan for significant cuts – more than £50m – in the period up to 2024/25.
Council Leader Councillor Bev Craig said:
“The fact remains that Manchester has been one of the places hardest hit by unfair Government funding cuts since 2010 and if we had received even the average cut we would be £85m better off every year.
“The context of the last 10 years cannot be understated and setting our budget is a difficult balancing act. Despite cuts to our city, Manchester is in a strong position as a world class city where people want to live and work, and we will keep bringing new jobs and opportunities to the city in the future. As always, we are determined that it will deliver as much as it can for Manchester and reflect the things which we know matter most to people in the city.
“This means continuing to provide vital services as well as planning for the future and I’m particularly pleased that we’ve been able to invest in improvements in some key priorities from supporting our young people to cleaning our streets and improving our local neighbourhoods. We will continue to invest in the services that matter most to local people.
“As it is, our financial picture gets much more challenging from 2023/24 onwards and we will continue to make the case to national Government for fair and sustainable funding for local councils like ours.”