December’s General Election and the Government’s delay in announcing what councils can spend on local services mean that we cannot yet forward-plan our budgets for 2020 and the years ahead in the usual way, as we would wish to.
Instead, we will be setting a balanced budget for 2020/21 – based on the current year’s spending – sticking to the priorities residents have told us matter to them most. Overall, the budget for Council services for 2020/21 is expected to be £647.688million compared to £621.486million in 2019/20.
Although we’re still waiting for the Government’s final decisions on council spending, we’ve made reasonable assumptions based on information pointing to limited increases in Government funding and other resources.
But these increases would not be enough to address ongoing pressures on services, especially following the austerity imposed since 2010.
To protect essential council services we are considering raising council tax by 1.99%. There is also an option for a further 2% precept on top of this earmarked for vital adult social care for our most vulnerable residents – older people, those with learning disabilities, and services for people with mental health needs.
In addition, our spending options support a new priority: for Manchester to become a zero-carbon city by 2038 at the latest, making sure that our city’s growth into a top-flight world city is good growth that brings good jobs and opportunities, and that all our residents have the skills to take up those jobs. Our consultation also asks how the options we’re considering for this budget – especially the possible council tax increase to support vulnerable people and continue investment in services you told us were most important to you – could affect you.
We’re also keen to hear ways that you can support the services and things that matter: how could you help meet the challenges and opportunities we face? Make sure you have your say.
Our Budget priorities
The budget options we’re considering for 2020/21 are based on the past three years’ priorities – established in extensive consultations on what matters to Manchester’s people and businesses. These were:
- Care and support for vulnerable people,
- Action on family poverty and giving young people the best start in life
- Tackling homelessness
- Supporting people into jobs and training
- Keeping our roads in good shape and our neighbourhoods clean, tackling flytipping and litter
- Parks and leisure to keep people active and happy
In addition, our spending plans support a new priority: for Manchester to become a zero-carbon city by 2038 at the latest.
But there are still challenges, particularly in frontline services such as homelessness, children in care and social care. The impact on our services of a growing population, of people’s housing requirements and of our city’s continuing growth mean that we must continue to work in new ways, and find new solutions, with residents and our partners.