A further £13.06 million reduction in budget announced by Salford City Council resulting in cumulative cuts since 2010 now standing at £211 million, with a 53% reduction in government funding.
Salford City Council has shared proposals to cut another £13.06 million in its budget for 2019/20.
To balance the budget this needs to be covered by savings, cuts or income. The target has been reduced from £15.2 million to £13.06 million during the year as detailed financial projections have progressed on collection of council tax and business rates.
This is the ninth year the council has had to make cuts. At the same time pressure on adult’s and children’s social care continue to increase and housing need spirals. The rate of looked-after children nationally is at a 25-year high.
The total cumulative cuts since 2010 now stands at £211 million, with a 53% reduction in government funding.
Since austerity began in 2010 this is equivalent a loss to the council’s budget of £58,000 every single day.
City Mayor Paul Dennett said “We have been clear that we want to protect frontline services, and maintain levels of social care and support to those in most need.
“This inevitably now comes at the expense of other services.
“It is clear that government imposed austerity is not over and has no intention of ending anytime soon despite government claims. On the ground we are trying our best in heartbreaking circumstances to manage depleted budgets and making difficult decisions on further cuts. Nationally and locally, the resource we have are being significantly outstripped by steadily rising demand for social care.
“Once again the message has been sent out that in the absence of additional funding, councils are forced to prop up services with council tax increases, which we all know are regressive forms of taxation, forcing those with the least personal and household income to pay more as a proportion of what they earn.”
The council has developed proposals to balance the books including:
The majority of budget cuts for 2019/20 will be made by reducing costs, making one off savings, redesigning services and bringing in additional income.
In addition to this, government forecasts assume local council tax increases to cover the basic cost of services. In Salford that means a proposed council tax increase of 2.99% and the final year increase of 1% in the adult social care precept, which was introduced back in 2017/18 by the government to deal with adult social care pressures in the absence of the long awaited green paper to deal with these budget challenges faced by councils up-and-down the country. These council tax and precept increases will equate to 78p per week or just over £1 per week increase for Band A property owners if GM precepts are included.
Greater Manchester precepts will add £33 per year to the bill (at band D level) which will fund extra police and commitments on transport.
Mayor Dennett said “I have stated for some time that government cuts are disproportionately hitting poorer local authorities, especially those with higher levels of deprivation according to the government’s own index of multiple deprivation.
“A recent independent report found councils and cities in the north hit the hardest by austerity, as we have less scope for raising money locally because of differences in council tax and business rate bases and individual’s and household’s ability to pay any increases.
“In the last year individual councils have started to hit a wall, some are declaring bankruptcy. It is clear a fairer funding regime is critical.
“The slight ray of light for Salford is the economic growth of the city, increasing business rates and council tax income in the region of £5 million in the last six years.
“Without that income stream, our present situation would be much worse, making it even harder for the City Council to continue to protect jobs and services.
“Investment in growth has also brought new jobs for the people of our city with the economy growing by almost £230 million in the last two years, with 900 more businesses and 1,200 extra jobs.”
Decisions on the 2019/20 budget have been based on the City Mayor’s priorities to protect services and support those in most need, as well as taking into consideration the public views gathered in a wide-ranging conversation, in which over 300 people took part.
The final decision on the budget is made by full Council on 27 February 2019.