Manchester City Council has announced cuts of £30m over the next three years despite last Autumn’s warning they would have a budget shortfall of between £40m and £75m.
The council has published its budget proposals for the next three years which outline plans to close the budget gap to £30m - even though the Government’s financial settlement left Manchester £1.2m worse off than anticipated.
This has been enabled, in part, by extra revenue generated through the city’s growth including nearly £8.4m additional dividend from the council’s share in the ownership of Manchester Airport Group and the use of over £6.7m of airport dividend.
Manchester City Council has seen undertaken substantial cuts since 2010/11. The directorate budget has been reduced by almost a third and £271m of savings and budget reductions made.
At the same time, the council’s workforce has reduced by 38% from 10,444 full time equivalent to 6,452. The city council intends to reduce its budget gap by raising council tax by a total of 4.99% - including the 3% social care precept - in 2017/18 and 2018/19 and 1.99% in 2019/20.
Savings will also be made in select areas. £12m of efficiences will be found in adult services through the Locality Plan, although the council said no service reductions had been identified.
There will also be savings in children’s services. Nearly £2.9m of savings will be found in 2017-20, with the largest part of this - £1.019m - to be achieved in 2019/20 through safely reducing the number of children in care.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: ‘The last few years have been very challenging for the council as we have had to deal with continuing cuts at the same time as increasing pressures on services.
‘This has been exacerbated by unfair government funding settlements which have hit big cities such as Manchester the hardest.
‘But we remain determined to do all we can, working with Manchester people and other partners, to continue to protect the vulnerable and give everyone the opportunity to share in the success of the city’s growing economy.
‘This budget process underlines this partnership approach as we attempt to strike the right balance which, inevitably, still involves some difficult decisions.’