I am writing to you all to share information about the council’s budget and council tax for 2020/21 which was agreed on 26 February as part of a three year plan.
The most important message this year is that there will be no further cuts in the budget. This will come as welcome news, as it means we can maintain existing services for residents in our city, especially critical to those that need our help and support the most.
I need to stress that we have only been able to reach a ‘no cuts’ position this year due to decisions we have taken in the past, including innovation so that we are making best use of our available resources to provide the right services to meet the needs of residents. Along with this, growth in the city has provided more council tax and business rates income, which again is helping to protect jobs and services in our city.
We will continue to look for opportunities to change the way we do things and work closely with our partners to make the best use of the city’s collective resources.
While our no cuts budget is good news, it doesn’t come without challenges as we will need to make the reductions we have already committed to in previous years to balance the budget.
In the last ten years, the council has been forced to make almost £211 million of cuts and budget reductions since 2010, with a 53% cut in core government funding.
The government’s current funding system expects councils to increase council tax by up to 4% in 2020/21 and we have agreed a rise of 1.99% council tax and 2% adult social care precept to fund services. I appreciate that increases have a negative impact on already hard-pressed residents and I have written to the Secretary of State urging government to provide deprived local authority areas with a fair financial settlement in future years to protect our services.
Currently a three year approach is helping us to avoid more extensive cuts in future years, but there is still considerable national uncertainty on the future of local government financing so the situation could worsen. And as it stands currently we will still need proposals to identify a way to reduce our budget by approximately £3.5 million to meet the gap projected in 2022/23.
Thank you for your continued support.
Paul Dennett (City Mayor of Salford) and Councillor Bill Hinds (Lead Member for Finance and Support Services)