Agenda and minutes
Budget, Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 27th February, 2023 10.00 am
Venue: Council Antechamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension. View directions
Contact: Charlotte Lynch
The following procedure applies for this item:
(i) The Committee will receive a statement by the Leader on the Executive’s budget proposals and the key issues underlining the budget process;
(ii) The Committee is invited to consider any issues arising from individual Directorate Budget Plans that chairs of scrutiny committees wish to draw specific attention to;
(iii) The Committee is invited to receive a Statement from the Executive Member for Housing and Development regarding the Housing Revenue Account calculations and to consider any amendment proposed in relation to the Housing Revenue Account 2023/24 to 2025/26;
(iv) The Committee is invited to consider any amendments to the budget proposals; and
(v) The Committee is invited to summarise its findings and formulate its recommendations to the Council meeting on 3 March 2023.
The committee considered reports of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer which provided an update on the Council’s financial position following scrutiny of the draft budget proposals and directorate budget plans by all Scrutiny Committees.
The committee received a statement from the Executive Member for Finance and Resources on the Executive’s budget proposals and the key issues underlying the budget process. He stated that the budget setting process was not easy, particularly given the austerity measures introduced by the 2010 Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government and sustained by subsequent Conservative governments. He explained that Manchester City Council had lost £428million from its budget and witnessed a 3.1% decrease in spending power as a result of this, which was disproportionate to the average across English local authorities. He stated that the Local Government Finance Settlement was better than anticipated but meant that tough financial decisions and cuts were deferred until 2025 and that the government assumed that all local authorities would increase council tax by 4.99%, which was not undertaken lightly by Manchester. He explained that the Council was still anticipating £36.2million of budget cuts between 2023 and 2026 and a £57million budget gap in 2025/26. This would reduce to a gap of £40million after the use of reserves.
He stated that the Council would continue to invest in adult social care and the additional income generated from the 2% precept for adult social care would be used to strengthen the social care market. Investment was also being funded into Making Manchester Fairer, Children’s Services, Youth Services, homelessness, building more affordable homes and addressing climate change. He expressed that the proposed budget helped those most in need during the cost-of-living crisis, used reserves prudently and ensured forward planning to sustain essential services for residents.
The committee received a statement from the Leader of the Council on the Executive’s budget proposals. She reiterated that the Council did not wish to be in circumstances of having to increase council tax by 4.99% and stated that the Council was forced into the situation due to government expectations. She explained that the budget demonstrated the serious approach taken to the cost-of-living crisis and focused on mitigating the impact of 13 years of austerity and taking a preventative approach to the issues facing residents. She explained that the budget would protect vulnerable residents; ensure that Council services function well; deliver clean, green streets; provide opportunities for young people; and plan for the future to ensure sustainable reserves to mitigate the impacts of future Local Government Finance Settlements.
Each Executive Member then summarised key points within the relevant directorate budget proposals.
The Chair then invited Chairs of other Scrutiny Committees to highlight issues arising from individual directorate budget plans. In doing so, the Chair of Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee expressed her anger at central government and their decisions and the impact this had on Manchester residents. She commended the progress made within the Children’s Services directorate and acknowledged more could be done if the government ... view the full minutes text for item 13.