Fit and ready to meet our priorities for the future – that’s the aim of council leaders who are drawing up the budget for 2020/21.
While savings will still be required, the deep cuts of recent years will not be repeated as the majority of the savings will be met by efficiencies in how the council operates and not affect delivery of frontline services.
Councillor David Jones, leader of the council, said: “A decade of austerity has taken its toll, with more than £100 million stripped from our budgets over that time.
“On top of that, we receive less grant per head of population compared to the Greater Manchester and the England average. All this has consequences, which the people of Bury have seen.
“This budget still requires substantial savings, but these will largely come from greater efficiencies which are designed to cause less impact on frontline services than recent budgets. In addition, one-off monies have been identified to bolster the council’s resilience and ensure the council is able to meet the medium term financial position which continues to be very difficult.
“More importantly, this budget focuses all our efforts on meeting the challenges of the future and our Bury 2030 plan, and the needs of our communities: the increased demand for services, especially those which cost the most money such as social care.
“And we will continue being ambitious with our priorities to ensure that Bury remains a great place in which to live, work and study. This means we will continue with our plans to regenerate our town centres across the borough, to encourage business and attract jobs, and improve people’s training and skills.
The budget will be set by the full council on Wednesday 26 February. The proposals, at this stage, include increasing the council’s element of the council tax by 2%, plus a further 2% increase in the adult social care levy. It also includes proposals to make savings of £5.7 million, and increase council house rents by 2.7%.
Cllr Jones added: “Using this money prudently means we will no longer have to rely so much on one-off use of our reserves to keep services going. We also need a good level of reserves because of the uncertainty around our future funding – for example, we still don’t have a formal financial settlement from the Government yet.
“There will be changes between now and 26 February, but our proposals put us in a better place to meet the challenges of the future.”
Press release issued: 11 February 2020.