Your budget questions answered

How are you listening to our views?

In autumn 2016 we asked local people what they think our priorities should be and how they think we can respond to the financial challenges we face. ‘What matters to you?’ closed on Friday 14 October 2016 and feedback was compiled and continue to help us shape our budget proposals.

We will continue to look for ideas and thoughts on future savings and how we can do things differently so have set up online form so that you can comment.

When will you make decisions?

The 2018 budget report will be taken to a special Wednesday 28 February Council meeting for agreement.

Where will the council be looking to make savings?

We are examining all areas of council activity and continue to try and identify any remaining areas that do not have a severe impact on services. As most of these have been made in previous years this is difficult. That is why we continue to take into account what is most important to you.

Why is my council tax so high?

Salford’s average council tax per property is the fourth lowest out of the ten Greater Manchester authorities. Salford and six other Greater Manchester authorities had increases of 4.7% in 2017. We will update these figures when all council tax rates are known for 2018/19.

Why spend money on councillors when you are cutting services?

The council has 60 elected local councillors covering 20 wards. Councillors represent their community and act as a key contact for local people. They receive a small allowance for their time but they do work evenings and weekends to support residents and to work in the interests of their wards. Any changes to councillor allowances are recommended by an independent panel.

Why not get rid of back office staff to make savings?

Like any other business the council needs back office services to function. These services include human resources, legal, finance and ICT. We have made significant savings in these areas and are continuing to develop new improved digital ways of working so we are as efficient as we can be. We will have improvements to our new website so that customers can make and track requests as well as our employee website so that our workforce can do more things for themselves.

We also continue to look at how we can share services with other local authorities and organisations in Salford and Greater Manchester. We already share some services with neighbouring local authorities, services such as audit and legal services.

Why have you changed recycling services?

In addition to environmental reasons for increasing recycling and reducing landfill, the council needs to reduce the level of general waste we dispose of.

Disposing of waste in landfill costs £350 per tonne and recycling waste provides £25 of income per tonne.

If we hadn’t made changes then costs would have increased by around £3.5 million over two years, putting pressure on budgets which continue to reduce.

The amount of waste is continuing to rise. Before 2008, when recycling collections started, Salford households only had one bin which provided 240 litres of space per week. Households now have four bins providing over 560 litres of space per week for recycling and general waste - more than double the space before recycling collections started in 2008.

Why do you spend money on consultants?

Sometimes we need to bring in specialised support for key projects. This is because we may need particular skills and expertise for just a short time and bringing in support means we do not need to employ people permanently with those skills.

Why is investment in the city important?

We think spending money on improving the city is really important, despite the fact that we have to make budget cuts. We know that if we spend money now investing in the city it will continue to stimulate the local economy and create more jobs in the future. It will also help attract more investment including new businesses and homes, which will bring in more council tax and business rates. This is extra revenue funding that we can spend on delivering services to keep our city clean and tidy and help support those who need it most. If we don’t invest now, we would be in a worse position in the future.

What’s the difference between capital funding and revenue funding?

We get funding in two different ways:

Capital funding
This is money we borrow to fund major projects, to pay for things like new schools and buildings. It’s like a mortgage. We also receive grants and contributions to fund some capital schemes with our borrowing meeting the gap. These loans are repaid over time using revenue funding.

Revenue funding
This is the regular funding used for running services and is more like income such as wages, pensions or benefit payments. We get this from council tax, business rates and government grants, and it’s these grants that have been massively reduced.

How much does the council earn from parking tickets?

All money raised from parking fines is spent on running parking services. Any surplus is used to support transport-related project such as resurfacing works and upgrades to infrastructure.

Can’t citizens get involved in managing a green patch or facility?

We are already working with a number of volunteers across the city. Friends of parks groups, a number of community associations and street champions already support the council in different ways. We're looking at how we can expand volunteering across the city in new and existing projects, working with and involving local communities. Part of this will be exploring local rewards. We’re open to ideas.

Could the council save money by working with another local authority?

There are already some examples in Greater Manchester where shared services work well. We expect opportunities for new ways of working to develop through Greater Manchester devolution.

Salford currently shares a legal service with Manchester City Council and our IT audit team provide services to many other Greater Manchester authorities.

Salford City Council has a partnership with a finance software company SAP where we together provide services for other councils.

Why don’t you get rid of all paper documents such as bills?

Officers and councillors have laptops and iPads as we aim to be a paperless organisation.

We are also increasing the number of documents that are sent digitally or provided online for customers which also makes our services quicker, easier and better.

This page was last updated on 9 February 2018

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