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Council Launches 2023-24 Budget Consultation

Press Release: 15/12/2022

 
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TAMESIDE Council’s executive cabinet has launched a consultation to discover residents’ spending priorities as it finalises the authority’s budget for the 2023-24 financial year.

Members want to go as far as possible in meeting residents’ expectations but have to temper this desire with the latest in a series of reductions in central government funding, which began in 2010, and a legal requirement to present a balanced budget.

Tameside Council is responsible for a vast range of services from residential and nursing care for the elderly to street cleaning and bin collections. The total amount spent annually is almost £600 million.

Although this is a significant sum, it has reduced considerably over the last 12 years due to government funding cuts.

Current inflation levels, the highest for 40 years, means funding no longer goes as far. And the covid pandemic, which began at the start of 2020 and led to three lockdowns, has also taken a heavy toll.

The biggest single amount Tameside Council spends each year on main services is £130 million which goes to schools. This is followed by adults (£117 million); children and families (£102 million); housing benefit (£58 million); neighbourhoods, including services such as waste and road maintenance, (£50 million); growth, such as investment in infrastructure, (£42 million); population health (£16 million).

In 2021-22 these paid for services such as maintaining a fleet of more than 200 vehicles and items of plant including gritters and bin wagons, the installation of 160,000 metres (100 miles) of ducting to provide high speed full fibre broadband in Tameside, and to support thousands of people in terms of welfare benefits and housing advice.

A further £30 million is taken by levies including payments to Greater Manchester for transport infrastructure and waste disposal.

Cllr Jacqueline North, First Deputy (Finance, Resources and Transformation) said: “Much as we would like to satisfy everyone’s demands, we have to deal with reality, and the reality is that the amount of money made available to us by central government is constantly shrinking while the demand for services increases. This was especially true when the pandemic was at its height.

“We’ve been left in a position where we have to find new and innovative ways to provide the services our residents want within more limited resources.

“That’s why we’re asking the public what they think our priorities should be in 2023-24 and the years ahead. If anyone has any ideas for how we might provide services more efficiently, save money or raise revenue, we’d ask them to let us know through the consultation.”

To make your views known about the 2023-24 council budget, you can find the consultation at www.tameside.gov.uk/TheBigConversation under ‘Live Consultations’. The survey is open from the 14 December 2022 to the 20 January 2023.

The council will announce its new budget at its next full meeting on Tuesday, February 28.

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