Statement from Manchester City Council leader elect ahead of the spending review

A statement from Leader Elect Cllr Bev Craig.

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader Elect of Manchester City Council, said: “We understand the pressures that national finances are under but we need a spending review which recognises the critical importance of local government to communities and the crucial role councils have played throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.  

“Local authorities such as Manchester City Council have undergone deep cuts since 2010, with the most deprived areas being disproportionately affected. If Manchester had received the average level of funding reductions between 2010/11 and 2021/22 we would be around £85m a year better off. 

“The impact of Covid has also hit the most deprived places the hardest and exacerbated existing health inequalities, as demonstrated by the Marmot report. These impacts on Manchester people, and on demand for local public services, are ongoing and the situation will worsen as current Government financial support tied to Covid comes to an end.   

“If levelling up is to be anything more than a hollow slogan, Government funding priorities need to recognise how local government can help them achieve their goals rather than treating it as a poor relation while other departments are protected from cuts.   

“We face increasing cost pressures, both through inflation and demand for services, while continuing to see funding squeezed and this is not sustainable.

“It is disappointing that there is still no long term solution for Adult Social Care and seemingly a continued reliance on extra precepts – which hit the poorest the hardest and do not reflect the levels of need. To help create a more sustainable care sector, we would also like to be in a position to be able to fund providers to pay the Real Living Wage and help develop a sustainable care sector.   

“We also need a three-year funding settlement, or at least clarity about the future, to enable us to plan ahead properly rather than being forced to scrape by on a year-by-year basis.  Whilst we understand reforms to local government funding are needed, we hope that they will recognise the pressures that cities such as Manchester are under, needing to have the capacity to deliver growth and investment whilst at the same time dealing with high levels of deprivation and demand for public services.  

"In short, the Government needs to work in partnership with local government and recognise that failure to provide adequate, sustainable funding which reflects demands and the vital role which councils play will prevent it from realising its own stated ambitions. 

"One off investment in headline-grabbing projects is always welcome but without sustainable funding for services it can only ever be a sticking plaster."  

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