Accessibility Toolbar Accessibility Statement
Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

Leader's Blog  
  

Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Have Your Say in the Budget Conversation

Thursday, 19 November 2020


Over the past few weeks I have said that when this terrible pandemic is finally put behind us, we cannot go back to the way things were before. The simple fact is that, for too many people in Tameside, Greater Manchester and Britain as a whole, hardship and struggle did not begin with coronavirus. They need and deserve more than going back to normal.
 
To that end we have launched, or in the process of launching, a large variety of consultations on what we expect to be the key areas of work to build back better after coronavirus. These include projects taking place on a Greater Manchester level such as protecting our environment, fighting against air pollution, and improving the quality of taxis and private hire vehicles, and schemes unique to Tameside such as developing our transport infrastructure and making sure that every resident feels safe from crime and anti-social behaviour.
 
However, none of these ambitions will become a reality unless they are built on the foundations of a sustainable and responsible approach to our finances. Every year the Tameside and Glossop Strategic Commission, the joint organisation which brings together Tameside Council and the Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group, spends over £974 million on the key services that our residents depend on. These range from £51 million on collecting bins and maintaining roads, to £40 million for mental health support and £87 million for adult social care.
 
This means that it is more important than ever that we ask what matters to you when it comes to our services and finances. That’s why we’ve launched our Budget Conversation, which can be accessed on our website here. Anybody who lives, work or has some other interest in Tameside and Glossop is encouraged to join the conversation and have their say on what you think our spending priorities should be for the next financial year, and if you have any ideas or suggestions for how we might deliver services better, save money or raise revenue.
 
Contrary to what many people believe, the vast majority of the money that funds these services does not come from council tax. In fact, money from council tax makes up only 17% of our total budget. The rest comes from a large variety of direct government grants and payments.
 
Like every local authority, we are legally required to set a balanced budget every year. This involves taking into account a huge number of considerations, including what is required from us legally, what we expect demand from our residents to look like, and whether we can adopt new ways of doing things to improve service quality and financial sustainability.

 
 
It is unfortunately no exaggeration to say that the financial challenges of this years’ budget are the most serious we have ever faced. We are still dealing with the consequences of over a decade of austerity, and on top of this the coronavirus pandemic has hit many of our sources of income such as sales, fees and charges while simultaneously increasing the demand for our services. This has almost doubled the amount of savings we expect to have to make next year to over £60 million.
 
If you want more information before you complete the Budget Conversation, we’ve put together a number of slides here explaining in further detail where our money comes from and where it is spent. We’re also going out through Zoom and Skype to community groups and partner organisations to give people the opportunity to share and discuss what matters to them to council officers in person, including a number of engagement sessions that are completely open to the public. One of these has already taken place, and a further two are due to be held on 25th November 6pm-7:30pm, and 8th December 2pm-3:30pm. You can sign up for either one of these public engagements using this quick and easy registration form.  
 
The Budget Conversation will run until 6th January 2021, after which all replies will be carefully analysed and used to inform our final decisions on next year’s Budget, which is due to be debated by Full Council in February. I cannot emphasise enough that there is no such thing as a stupid answer, and the more people who take part means the better the information we will have at our disposal to start building back better in Tameside and Glossop. So whatever matters to you, make sure that you have your say.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


These entries were filed under the Executive Leader's Blog. You can follow any responses to these entries through the RSS 2.0 feed.