Manchester City Council’s draft budget proposals have been published, completing the three-year budget commitment for the period 2017/18 to 2019/20.
Despite funding pressures, the Council is on track to meet the three-year plan, which was agreed following the large-scale consultation with residents to understand what mattered most to them.
Residents have told us that the things they valued most were care and support for vulnerable people whilst helping families in poverty. They also added tackling homelessness, improving access to jobs and training, upgrading our roads and ensuring our neighbourhoods are clean and well-managed. Additionally, leisure investment to keep people active and happy, was included in the responses.
More than half of the Council’s budget (51%) is invested in caring for our vulnerable adults and children, while around 8% of the total budget funds waste collection, disposal and recycling services.
Going into year three, these key priorities will continue to shape the fabric of the budget and although funding challenges will continue into 2019/20 – especially with growing need for adult and children’s social care – the budget will be balanced this year.
Additional government funding of over £12m has been made available from the Autumn Budget Statement Announcements and the Provisional Finance Settlement, largely relating to Social Care Services. This is welcome but insufficient to cover the increasing needs of our residents and is not confirmed beyond 2019/20, which hinders longer term planning.
The above is in the context of austerity since 2010 which has had a significant impact on the council. Between 2010/11 to 2019/20 the Councils Spending Power (as defined by government) has reduced by £179m (29%) which compares to an England average reduction of 16%. The fall in spending power per head is the 10th worst nationally at £355.
The Council is proposing to make further savings of £15m in 2019/20. This takes the total savings requirement to £372m from 2010 up to 2019/20, after taking into account inflation and rising demand.