Your budget questions answered

How are you listening to our views?

We asked local people what they think our priorities should be and how they think we can respond to the financial challenges we will face in 2017.

‘What matters to you?’ closed on Friday 14 October 2016 and feedback was compiled and has helped us shape our budget proposals.

We then ran an online questionnaire between 16 December and 1 February and held meetings where you were able to give us your views on how you would spend the council’s budget and provide comments on our budget proposals.

When will you make decisions?

The 2017 budget report will be taken to a special February Council meeting for agreement.

Where will the council be looking to make savings?

We are examining all areas of council activity and a lot of the more straightforward decisions that do not have a severe impact on services have already been made in previous years. That is why we are asking residents, businesses, groups, partners and staff for ideas and views. It’s important we know what matters to you and what you value in your communities and the city – this will help us shape and develop our proposals.

Why is my council tax so high?

Salford’s average council tax per property is the third lowest out of the ten Greater Manchester authorities. In 2016 the increase of 3.64% was slightly higher than the Greater Manchester average of 3.37% - after being successfully frozen for the previous six years.

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 have recently developed better new digital ways of working so we are as efficient as we can be. We are continuing to make further efficiencies and improvements with developments to our new website that helps customers make and track requests as well as a new staff website that allows staff to do things for themselves.

We continue to look at how we can share services with other local authorities and organisations in Salford and Greater Manchester.

Why have you changed recycling services?

In addition to environmental reasons for increasing recycling and reducing landfill, the council cannot afford to continue to dispose of as much general waste as we have previously.

Disposing of waste in landfill costs £350 per tonne and recycling waste provides £25 of income per tonne.  If we didn’t make any changes then costs would increase by around £3.5 million over the next two years, putting pressure on budgets which have already been reduced by over £170 million since 2010.

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 borough 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, in two, five and 10 years’ time this will have helped to stimulate the local economy and create more jobs. 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 2 February 2017

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