Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has announced proposals for how much Greater Manchester residents will be asked to contribute to policing, the fire service, and other mayoral priorities.
His proposed balanced budget is designed to protect essential services, keep bills as low as possible and achieve the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s vision to make Greater Manchester one of the best places in the world.
• PCSO NUMBERS MAINTAINED AND FASTER IMPROVEMENTS IN 101 SERVICE
• FIRE SERVICE PROTECTED
• INVESTMENT TO BEGIN TACKLING CONGESTION
• PROPOSED £7 ANNUAL CHARGE FOR AVERAGE GREATER MANCHESTER HOUSEHOLD TO DELIVER MAYORAL PRIORITIES
The mayoral priorities include addressing congestion, rough-sleeping and the major rewrite of a homes and jobs plan to reduce the amount of green space taken for development. If agreed these will be added to local council tax bills when they are set by each of the 10 Greater Manchester councils.
Essential services across Greater Manchester will be enhanced with additional police officers recruited and PCSO numbers maintained to ensure a visible police presence in every community.
Following a public consultation, and approval from the Police and Crime Panel, the police element of council tax is set to rise by £9.33 this year for the average council tax bill (Band B) in Greater Manchester – that’s less than 78p per month.
Mayor Andy Burnham said:
“The Government’s decision to cut Greater Manchester Police for the eighth year in a row, when the threat level remains high and crime is rising, means we have been left in a difficult position with no real choice but to ask our residents to fill the gap. And with this extra funding GMP will be asked to strengthen neighbourhood policing, ensure a strong police presence across GM and accelerate improvements in the 101 service.”
The budget for Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service will be protected and more firefighters are being recruited to address shortages.
An annual charge to help deliver Mayoral priorities is proposed to be set at £7 a year for the average council tax bill (Band B) in Greater Manchester.
As part of the overall budget package:
• At least 50 new police officers will be recruited for neighbourhood policing
• PCSO numbers will be maintained
• Faster improvements will be made to the non-emergency 101 service
• The fire service budget will be protected and staff shortages addressed
• Congestion across Greater Manchester will begin to be addressed, with the transport control room turned into a 24/7 operation
• Greater Manchester’s new plan for jobs and homes (known as the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework) will be published later this year, taking in to account Greater Manchester residents ’ concerns, especially about development on green space
Council tax pays for a proportion of vital local services for children, older people and places in Greater Manchester. But part of the bill – called a precept – is assigned to the Mayor to help fund those Greater Manchester-wide services for which he is responsible.
Greater Manchester region faces big challenges: tackling congestion on our roads; building an affordable bus and public transport system serving all of our communities; eradicating rough-sleeping by 2020; developing a plan for affordable housing that better protects green sites; improving air quality; and realising our goal of becoming the UK’s leading digital and green city.
To develop plans to meet these challenges, it is proposed that a new Mayoral precept be set at £7 per year for the average Greater Manchester household.
In the past nine months, Greater Manchester has secured more than £250 million of extra funding from the Government. This money has only been offered to Greater Manchester because it is a Mayoral Combined Authority. Areas without one, like West Yorkshire and the East Midlands, have missed out.
This additional money includes:
£243m Transforming Cities Fund
£3.8m homelessness trailblazer funding
£1.8m Social Impact Bond to help those homeless people most in need
£2m from the Mayoral Capacity Fund
That means that for the £7 charge per household, the Mayor, working with our Combined Authority council leaders, have brought in additional funding worth £208 per Greater Manchester household.
The proposals will be discussed at Friday’s meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, ahead of the final budget-setting meeting in February.
The Mayor said:
“I’ve been working closely with the 10 leaders, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to put together a package of measures that keeps the council tax as low as possible but helps to support our communities in Greater Manchester.
“I recognise that it is a big ask for people to pay more, especially in these difficult times. But, at the same time, I am facing pressure from the public to go further and faster on tackling homelessness and congestion while protecting green spaces. I have tried to get the balance right, keeping bills down but also keeping Greater Manchester leading the way.”
Find out more about the proposed budget and the work Andy Burnham has been doing at GMCA