Regeneration and thriving businesses and communities are at the heart of a £16 million funding boost announced by council leaders.
Every township in the borough will receive investment under plans approved by the council when it set its budget for 2019/20 tonight (Wed 20 Feb).
The main projects are:
- An extra £10 million for highways improvements from 2020 (this follows the £10 million announced two years ago, the final third of which will be spent this coming financial year).
- £2.7 million to promote business growth.
- Investment of £1.3 million into Bury Market, to ensure that the town’s ‘jewel in the crown’ continues to be a major attraction. It was voted the Nation’s Favourite Market just this month.
- £500,000 to support the Radcliffe Regeneration Task Group in its work to transform the town centre.
- Funding of £250,000 to deliver the Prestwich Town Centre Challenge and help and support plans to transform the Longfield Centre area.
- A £100,000 boost to develop the Uplands health and wellbeing/residential concept in Whitefield.
- A £420,000 masterplan for Radcliffe town centre including urban design, planning and transport.
- £100,000 to increase car parking provision in Ramsbottom.
- £430,000 towards developing 3G sports pitches in the borough.
In addition, people who leave their properties empty for two years or more will be charged double the standard rate of council tax, the maximum allowed by law. This is to encourage occupation and/or redevelopment of empty houses.
Councillor Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, said: “Despite a decade of Government austerity, we are determined to build a Bury fit for the future. This means investing in all our townships, creating opportunities for businesses to grow and bringing jobs and prosperity to our borough.
“We’re developing stronger neighbourhood working and partnerships, empowering our communities and residents to self-help where possible and improve the overall quality of life.
“Our priorities will always be to make Bury the place in which to live, work, study and live a healthy life.”
In setting its budget, the council has continued to place social care at the top of its priorities.
Nearly 90% of the council’s controllable net expenditure is now being spent on providing care to adults and children in the community.
Cllr Shori added: “This is the final year of a three-year budget, and it will be a year of change and transition. There are major changes taking place in our organisation which will bring together NHS and social care functions, in order to provide a more tailored service and to encourage people to take control of their own health and wellbeing.
“Support for the most vulnerable people in our society remains at the heart of our priorities, and we are developing new ways of working to meet those increasing demands.”
The budget will also mean cuts of £11.9 million this coming year, taking the total amount of cuts since 2010 to £97 million.
The council has agreed a rise of 2.94% in the basic level of council tax for 2019/20. On top of that, there are precepts to the police service of £24 per household and the Greater Manchester Mayor’s office (including the fire service) of £9 per household.
More than half of the 84,000 properties in Bury are in Band A and Band B, and the total council tax rise will therefore equate to 99p a week for a Band A householder or £1.16 a week for those in Band B.
Council house tenants will have their rents reduced by 1%, and energy charges in sheltered housing will be cut.
Cllr Eamonn O’Brien, cabinet member for finance and housing, said: “We’re continuing to invest in major projects, such as the superb extra care scheme Peachment Place, which has just opened its doors to its first residents. We’re using using compulsory purchase powers to enable the rebuilding of the Summerseat bridge destroyed by flooding, putting money into flood defences in Redvales and Radcliffe, and working with the Government to bring new housing to brownfield sites like the former East Lancs Paper Mill.
“We’re also providing extra investment to increase our number of foster carers and improve our early help service. Alongside this we have new policies to tackle domestic violence and keep our communities safe. The Social Capital Fund will also be continuing over this coming year, which is giving communities thousands of pounds for projects they have initiated and will directly help their local neighbourhood.”
Council Tax – around 85% of the council tax bill is what residents pay for Bury Council services; the remaining 15% goes towards the Police and the GM Mayor/Fire services.
Staffing – the council has lost more than 650 jobs since 2010, many in management roles.
The cost of social care - in 2018/19, the amount of Council Tax received by Bury Council was £79 million. In the same year, the council spent £76 million on adult and children’s social care. The cost of care packages has nearly doubled since 2010, due to inflationary pressures and the increased complexity of people’s needs.
Bury’s external funding - Bury receives £279 per resident in external funding, whereas the average for Greater Manchester districts is £376. If Bury was funded at GM levels, we would have an extra £18.5 million.
Where does the council spend its money?
The council delivers more than 150 different services to a population of around 189,000 people (living in approximately 84,000 households).
Every £ we spend is split as follows:
- Adult care services: 43p
- Children’s services: 22p
- Refuse collection/disposal: 8p
- Transport levy (TfGM): 15p
- Public health: 9p
- Recreation: 4p
- Borrowing and capital works:4p
- Highways: 4p
- Environmental health:1p
- Planning, economic development, markets: -3p
- Other services: -7p
Press release issued: 20 February 2019.