Like all public bodies, Transport for Greater Manchester has recently been setting its budget for 2016-17. Stockport Councillor Iain Roberts is the Lib Dem’s group leader on Transport for Greater Manchester Committee reports back:
“The total day-to-day spending budget (i.e. not the big investment projects) for TfGM comes to a little over £270 million for 2016/17. Most of that money comes from the ten local councils, some from the Government and a little from other sources. That’s the same as the current year, and follows 3% cuts in each of the last two.
TfGM has no influence on about 70% of that money. Rail payments from the Government of £49m get passed straight onto the Northern franchise holder. £47m funds the English national concessions for bus travel (such as the free pass for pensioners) and £90m goes on financing capital expenditure – repaying loans on money TfGM has borrowed.
On top of that there are other costs – rent, rates and energy – that TfGM has little control over.
Metrolink spending is ring-fenced – profits made from Metrolink are fed back into the tram network for future improvements and expansion.
So what can TfGM influence?
There are local bus concessions – cheap tickets we fund in GM for child travel, people with certain disabilities and tram and train concessions. That comes to £19m. The supported bus services – funding bus services that wouldn’t be commercially viable on their own – costs £27.1m. Ring & Ride costs £4.6m. And finally operational costs – operating bus stations, travel shops, bus shelters, traffic signals and passenger information boards plus a few other things – comes in at £37m.
TfGM faces a number of cost pressures: local authority cuts, increased employers’ NI and higher pension fund costs will be met from efficiencies. There are also new responsibilities coming with devolution (we hope!). The big two are for TfGM to take ownership of the 97 stations across Greater Manchester and bus franchising. The initial costs of those will be met from reserves – money that’s been put aside for the job.
TfGM say there are no plans to further reduce the bus network from 2016/17 onwards – good news, as we’ve seen too many services cut in the last couple of years.”