Consideration was given to a report that set
out the proposed Revenue Budget, Capital Programme and Council Tax
2022/2023 for approval at Budget Council on 23rd
It was noted that the information contained
within the report was subject to approval of the Mayor of Greater
Manchester Council Tax precepts for 2022/23.
Members were informed that the report also
outlined the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022/23 to 2026/27
which provided the latest budget position for the Council, set out
the key financial challenges and issues that would be faced over
the period and provided details of the assumptions and estimates
which underpinned the budget.
The Chair then invited comments and questions
During the course of the discussion, the
following points were raised:
- In response to a question regarding
the expected final balance on the 2021/22 budget transfer to the
Equalisation Reserve - it was explained that the Quarter 3 update
report was currently being prepared and based on current proposals
it was anticipated that there would be an underspend. However, if all carry forward requests submitted
were approved this would create a balance deficit.
- It was noted that a Council Tax
reduction scheme for 2022/23 was proposed, which would offer
targeted support to working-age households in receipt of Local
Council Tax Support facing financial difficulties. The scheme would provide a credit of up to
£150 on account. If the amount of Council Tax to pay was less
than £150 the bill would be reduced to £0.
- In response to questions, the Chief
Finance Officer explained that the Government had announced
measures to help with rising energy bills, one of which was a
£150 ‘council tax energy rebate’ for all
households in Bands A to D. The proposed Council Tax reduction
scheme was separate to the Government’s council tax
rebate. It was explained that the
details of the rebate scheme were awaited; however, it was
anticipated that the Council would administer the scheme on behalf
of the Government and Council Tax data would be used to issue
payments directly to households that paid Council Tax by Direct
Debit. It was agreed that an easy to
understand guide would be circulated to all councillors, which
explained the details of the Government’s council tax energy
rebate scheme and the authority’s Council Tax reduction
- In responding to a query, the Chief
Finance Officer agreed to provide the Committee with information
regarding the number of households that would be receiving a
Council Tax bill of £0 - £50.
- It was requested that details of the
Mayor of Greater Manchester Council Tax precepts and budget setting
process be circulated to the Committee.
- Councillor Wraighte wished to place
on record her support for social care workers being paid the real
- Concerns were raised regarding the
proposed increase of Council Tax, in light of rising energy bills
and inflation, and it was suggested that a freeze on Council Tax to
benefit all residents should be considered.
- In addition, it was suggested that
rather than an increase on Council Tax, the Council’s
balances and reserves should be utilised. Concern was raised that the Council’s
balances had remained unused, despite the difficulties over the
past two years. In response, the Chief
Finance Officer explained that the balances held represented 3% of
the Council’s overall spend. In
addition, she said that in the early stages of the pandemic the
balances had placed the Council in a strong position to react to
was explained that it was prudent to maintain the Council’s
balances until there was more certainty regarding longer term
funding from the Government and the resources that may be required
to recover from the pandemic. The
Government’s fair funding review would set a new baseline
funding allocations for local authorities and funding for the
Council would not be known until next year.
report be noted.
easy to understand guide be circulated to all councillors which
explained the details of the Government’s council tax rebate
scheme and the authority’s Council Tax reduction
Chief Finance Officer be requested to provide the Committee with
information regarding the number of households that would be
receiving a Council Tax bill of £0 - £50.
Chief Finance Officer be requested to circulate to the Committee
details of the Mayor of Greater Manchester Council Tax precepts and
budget setting process.