Agenda and minutes
Budget, Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 28th February, 2022 10.00 am
Venue: Council Chamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension. View directions
Contact: Michael Williamson
Note: This meeting can be viewed on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/678826983
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 Employment regarding the Housing Revenue Account calculations and to consider any amendment proposed in relation to the Housing Revenue account 2022/23 to 2024/25;
(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 4 March 2022.
Further to minute RGSC/22/08, the Committee considered a report of the Chief Executive and 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 Leader on the Executive’s budget proposals and the key issues underlying the budget process. In doing so, she outlined the context of the proposed budget, in particular, she referred to the impact of budget reductions and austerity over the last 10 years which had led to £420m having been removed from the Council’s budget, resulting in a 15% reduction in spending power compared to a national average of 2.4% and commented that if Manchester had had the national average applied to its budget, it would have a further £85m in its budget today.
In addition, the Leader acknowledged the impact and legacy of Covid, which was evident within the budget proposals, not just in terms of the financial impact on revenue and income, but also the impact on residents and communities. It was also recognised that Manchester had been let down by Government in meeting the financial demands brought about by Covid. The Leader also criticised the Government’s approach for using council tax increases to supplement and underwrite the income for Councils, as this was considered a regressive tax that impacted more heavily on Manchester residents compared to those who were more affluent, and was not a sustainable or fair long term approach to funding local government. The Leader also commented that she would continue to call on Government for a fair and sustainable settlement that gave economic certainty beyond just a one year funding settlement.
The Leader concluded that the proposed budget was one that had been developed from listening to Manchester residents, investing in their priorities, ranging from basic services, street cleaning, youth provision, support for those in need and most vulnerable to those living in poverty and investing in local communities and neighbourhoods, ensuring that every pound spent was for the betterment of Manchester residents.
Each Executive Member then summarised key points within the Directorate budget proposals.
The Chair then invited the Chair of Economy Scrutiny and the Chair of Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee to highlight issues arising from individual Directorate Budget Plans. In doing so the Chair of Economy Scrutiny highlighted the discussion held at Economy Scrutiny around the long-term vacancies within the Planning and Building Control department and had received assurance that through the forthcoming service redesign, additional resource would be added to the service to ensure it operated effectively. The Chair of Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee commented that despite a 28% increase in the city’s child population over the last 10 years, the number of Looked After Children had not increased at the same rate and this had been due to careful planning, centred around invest to save initiatives. She also added that concern had been ... view the full minutes text for item 13.