Manchester City Council

Agenda item

Agenda item

The Council's Updated Financial Strategy and Budget reports 2020/21

Report of the Chief Executive and the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer attached


This report provides an update on the Council’s overall financial position and sets out the next steps in the budget process, including scrutiny of the draft Budget proposals and Budget report by this Committee.  Each Scrutiny Committee will receive a budget report aligned to its remit.  The report also outlines the officer proposals for how the Council could deliver a balanced budget for 2020/21, the details of which will be discussed at the relevant scrutiny committees.



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 overall financial position and set out the next steps in the budget process.  In doing so, the report outlined Officer proposals for how the Council could deliver a balanced budget for 2020/21.


In conjunction to the above, the Committee also received and considered the draft Council Business Plan for 2020/21 and the Growth and Development medium term financial plan (MTFP) and budget proposals for 2020/21.


Officers highlighted that the 2020/21 budget would be a one year roll over budget.  It would reflect the fact the Council had declared a climate emergency and would also continue to reflect the priorities identified in the previous three-year budget strategy.


Taken together, the reports and the MTFP illustrated how the directorate would work to deliver the Our Corporate Plan and progress towards the vision set out in the Our Manchester Strategy.


Some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions were:-


·                An explanation was sought as to of the difference between the Growth and Development Directorate’s gross budget of £57.6m and net budget of £8.179m;

·                Were the base budget figures within the Growth and Development budget based on the original budget proposed at the start of the financial year or revised figures;

·                Clarification was sough if any further investment was planned past 2020/21 for highways maintenance;

·                What assessment had been undertaken in balancing the risk in increasing the service charge relating to New Smithfield Market and ensuring there was not a reduction in market traders;

·                Could further information be provided in relation to equalities and diversity within the Business Plans, with specific reference to a commitment to diversity at senior levels;

·                Had any consideration been given to other alternative KPI’s for markets other than the income generated for the Council, such as the local economic impact;

·                As part of the proposed 2020/21 budget, what investment, if any, was proposed within the Council’s estate to reflect the actions needed to comply with climate emergency the Council declared in July 2019;

·                Clarification was sought as to whether the additional funding resource for Lloyd Street public conveniences for 2020/21 had been secured;

·                What was the timescale for the proposed improvements to Whythenshawe markets.


The Head of Finance for Corporate Services, Neighbourhoods

and Growth and Development explained that the gross budget figures included all expenditure items such as staffing, premises and operating costs, whereas the net budget figures was the what was left of the gross budget once it had been offset by any income, grants or other external contributions.  In terms of the budget figures, he advised that the figures were based on the latest figures, which had been adjusted in year to reflect know changes in inflation.   


The Strategic Director (Growth and Development) commented that there was provision within the 2020/21 capital programme for highway improvements and as part of the forward capital strategy, further commitments into highways would be reviewed and explored, which would include looking at opportunities for funding from national government and within the Greater Manchester region to secure investment into the Council’s highways estate.


The Director of Commercial and Operations advised that the service charge to markets was set by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors which the Council could not control.  What was within the Council’s control in relation to markets was the rental charge charged to traders.  The rental level was set a level which was hoped to achieve the budget target. Specifically in relation to New Smithfield Market, it was explained that the site was very challenging as it required a significant level of investment to bring it up to the Council’s desired standard and this was an ongoing project, looking at potential options for capital investment which would start to reduce the service charge.


In terms of the comments raised around equality and diversity, Officers advised that this would be reflected in the next suite of budget papers at the February cycle of scrutiny meetings.


The Head of Finance for Corporate Services, Neighbourhoods

and Growth and Development confirmed that £155,000 had been allocated in the 2020/21 budget to fund the ongoing costs of Lloyd Street public toilets.


The Director of Commercial and Operations advised that in relation to the local economic impact of the district markets, an study had been undertaken and the results had been received recently.  A headline finding from the study was that local district markets had a positive economic impact in the areas that they were located.  Effectively this was reflect in the budget as there was still a proposed subsidy for Wythenshawe market and there was income generated from the other district markets.  There were no proposals to change the operation of the markets and proposals were being considered in relation to future investment within the district markets to make them more vibrant and generate more activity.


The Strategic Director (Growth and Development) confirmed that there was clear plans within the Council’s capital strategy to address zero carbon targets across the Council’s operation estate.  He also commented that within the Zero Carbon Action Plan, which would be considered by the Executive, there would be a need to look at some of the bigger challenges within the Council’s estate, such as the HRA owned estate and the council’s fleet of vehicles.


The Committee was informed that it was intended to consult on proposals for Wythenshawe Market with Ward Councillors and Executive Members over the first quarter of 2020, which would then be formally considered by the Executive in the start of the new Municipal Year.




The Committee:-


(1)       Recommends that their comments be submitted for consideration by the Executive at their meeting on 15 January 2020, specifically the comments made around benefits that district markets bring to local communities and economies.

(2)       Requests that in the suite of budget papers to be considered at its next meet, reference to Housing and Residential Growth is included.


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