This consultation closed on Thursday 24 December 2020
What we do
The Council’s net revenue budget – the budget we use to deliver services – is just over £666m.
This money is used to deliver a wide range of essential services to Manchester people – touching almost every aspect of the life of the city.
More than half of this budget is spent on Health and Social Care, and Children’s Services. These services play a crucial role in keeping the most vulnerable adults and children safe. Health and Social Care is also about helping people to live as healthily and independently as possible. Care workers have played a crucial role throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and the service helps a wide range of people including those with complex care needs, learning disabilities and those who need a helping hand after getting out of hospital.
Children’s Services are there to help improve the lives and futures of children and young people – for example through early help, caring for looked after children and children in need or at risk, fostering or support for special educational needs.
The Neighbourhoods directorate works to keep the city clean and safe and to support vibrant neighbourhoods. Its responsibilities include waste collection and disposal and street cleaning. It also oversees parks, libraries, leisure centres, events and cultural attractions and youth services.
Growth and Development helps shape the city’s future, including the infrastructure it needs, and attracting investment and jobs.
Homelessness work to help prevent people becoming homeless in the first place and work with those who do to help them find accommodation and a way forwards.
The Corporate Core provides planning services for the city and a range of support services which enable the rest of the council to function such as finance, Human Resources and ICT.
Our budget position
We are facing a difficult budget position in 2021/22.
We normally set our budget three years at a time but on this occasion, we will only be given funding for one year by the Government which makes it impossible to plan with any certainty beyond next year.
The severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant increased costs – especially for services such as adult social care and homelessness which support some of the city’s most vulnerable people. It has involved a herculean effort, delivering not just a public health response but also a social and economic one. This has included the establishment of a support hub which has delivered support ranging from five million items of personal protective equipment to food parcels for 13,500 residents. We have distributed more than £100m of grants to 9,000 organisations and helped hundreds of people who were sleeping rough into accommodation.
At the same time, it has meant a big hit to our income such as the annual dividend we receive through our part-ownership of Manchester Airports Group. The anticipated hit to next year’s budget from Covid-19 costs is £134m.
These Covid-19 impacts have come on top of pre-existing budget pressures caused by inflation and supporting a growing population.
We believe it is important to protect the frontline services and social care which so many rely on.
Where we are now
Announcements of one-off funding in the Government’s recent spending review suggest we will not be looking at the absolute worst case scenario for 21/22, which was a shortfall of around £100m. But we are still awaiting full details of how much we will be allocated and expect we will still need to deliver in the region of £50m-worth of cuts.
What it means for Council Tax
The Government’s recent Spending Review allowed councils to increase Council Tax by up to 1.99 per cent plus an additional 3 per cent precept to help meet adult social care costs.
We are considering using this full possible amount – which together would be a 4.99 per cent increase and raise around £8.5m – to help protect services from further cuts and especially to support adult social care for those in need.
The estimated ongoing cost of the pandemic to adult social services next year is £13m. The 3 per cent adult social care precept will raise around £5m of this.
If we do use the full possible increase, it will significantly reduce budget pressures and reduce the need for savings.
We are not asking you to comment here on any of the specific options for cuts and savings which you may have heard about. These options will be the subject of a separate consultation which will take place in early 2021.
The extent of savings required will partly depend on whether the 1.99 per cent Council Tax increase and 3 per cent adult social care precept are taken so this consultation will help shape the overall picture. That is why we are asking your view on the potential increases first. By the New Year we will also know exactly how much funding we have been allocated by the Government.