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Financial realities as budget setting looms

Press Release   •   Jan 23, 2018 16:34 GMT

The council is giving residents another chance to make comments before it formally sets the next budget and council tax levels on Wednesday 21 February.

Last year the council set a three-year budget covering 2017 to 2020 which outlined cuts of £32 million over that period, on top of the £65 million of cuts made since 2010.

While this programme is fixed, the Government has since announced some funding changes, such as to the Council Tax referendum limits and the police precept.

The council has therefore started an online Budget Conversation to provide updates on a number of issues, and outline the council’s priorities, the demand pressures on services and how much these services cost.

The cost of social care

In 2017/18, the amount of Council Tax received by Bury Council was £74 million. In the same year, our spend on adult social care totalled £52.4 million and our spend on children’s social care was £20.9 million.

Together, that equals almost exactly the Council Tax we receive.

We provide adult social care for 4,300 people and care packages cost an average of more than £10,000 per person each year

The cost of care packages have nearly doubled since 2010 - this isn’t only due to inflationary pressures but is also due to increased complexity of people being supported through social care.

Do we get a fair deal?

  • Bury receives £241 per resident in external funding
  • The average for English councils is £282 per head
  • The average for Greater Manchester districts is £329.

If we were funded at England or GM levels, we would have an extra £7.8 million or £16.5 million respectively.

Where does the council spend its money?

The council delivers more than 150 different services to a population of around 187,500 people (living in approximately 80,000 households).

Every £ we spend is split as follows:

  • Adult care services - 39p
  • Children’s services - 19p
  • Refuse collection/disposal - 13p
  • Transport levy (TfGM) - 10p
  • Public health - 9p
  • Recreation - 4p
  • Borrowing and capital works - 4p
  • Highways - 3p
  • Environmental health - 1p
  • Planning, economic development, markets - (-2p)

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, cabinet member for finance and housing, said: “As a borough, we don’t get the money from Government that we deserve. One clear example of this is the lack of funding for our roads. Bury taxpayers contribute at least £12m through various “road taxes” but we only get about £2m back from the Government to spend on highways.

“Our population is changing – the total number of residents is going up, and more of us are living longer. An increasing number of elderly residents require council social care support for long-term and increasingly complex conditions. Service pressures and costs are therefore increasing – by over £7m in this last year alone - at the same time as our funding is reducing.

“Our vision is to “lead, shape and maintain a prosperous Bury that is fit for the future”within the financial constraints forced upon us by austerity, ensuring that services are both affordable and sustainable.

“Support for the most vulnerable people remains at the heart of our priorities.

“To do this the council will increasingly become an enabler of services, rather than directly delivering them in the way we have done previously. An essential part of this is the focus on developing stronger neighbourhood partnerships, empowering our communities and residents to self-help where possible, and improving the overall quality of life.”

To take part in the Budget Conversation, go to our website at: https://www.bury.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=11672

If you require the budget consultation pack in a large print format, please contact us on 0161 253 5696.

Comments are required by 6 February in order to be considered as part of the budget-setting process. We will publish a summary of the comments received and responses to these topics on our website in mid-February.

ENDS

Press release issued: 23 January 2018.