Earlier this week was the regular meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Corporate Issues and Reform Scrutiny, to look at the budgets for the various Greater Manchester combined/joint authorities for 2021-22. Prestwich councillor Tim Pickstone reports:
The various bodies which make up the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (the Mayor, the Combined Authorities, and then the joint services like transport, fire, police and waste) all have separate budgets, but are now agreed at the same time though the Combined Authority.
Mayoral General Budget and Precept Proposals
There is no change proposed to the Mayoral General Precept for 2021/22 at £90.95 (Band D) comprising of £66.20 for functions previously covered by the Fire and Rescue Authority precept and £24.75 for other Mayoral General functions. This is unchanged from 2020/21;
There are no changes proposed to the crew and fire engine numbers for Greater Manchester Fire (previous proposals are now not being implemented.
Greater Manchester Transport Budgets
The funding for core GM transport services remains unchanged for 2021/22, this is a levy charged to all ten local councils paid out of our regular Council Tax.
There is a very high level of uncertainty about some aspects of transport budgets in the coming year. In particular this is around Metrolink, where there are currently very low passenger numbers (and therefore low ticket income) and significantly lower usage of buses. The Government has been providing grants to cover the losses on Metrolink and other costs, but there is no certainty if this funding will continue or whether it will be high enough. A decision has not yet been made on bus reform. If the Mayor decides to proceed with a Regulated bus network then there will be significant expenditure to make this happen and revisions will need to be made to the budget.
Our Pass – the free bus pass for 16-18 year old will continue into 2022 to enable it to be properly evaluated under more ‘normal’ circumstance.
Supported Bus Services will continue to be under significant pressure during 2021/22 due to a combination of inflationary pressures, lower income and the risk of further commercial services stopping. Paper E sets out the proposed waste budget for 2021/22 for the nine GM Districts Councils who are part of the GM waste contract. The report highlights the 2020/21 position being breakeven, taking account of a refund of levy of £20m to Districts approved by GMCA in July and September 2020.For 2021/22 the report recommends:
Greater Manchester Waste
The Waste Authority has made a refund of £20million to the nine districts that make up the authority (everyone except Wigan).
The waste budget for 2021/22 make a charge to the nine councils of£162.4m, which represents an average 2.9% decrease over 2020/21. This saving is a result of a cheaper contract with the private sector contractor who deals with the disposal of rubbish.
Greater Manchester Police
The Greater Manchester Police, Crime and Fire Panel approved an increase of £10 per year for a Band D property. This equates to the equivalent of 325 new police officers.
The Combined Authority has a very large capital programme (around £1/2 billion) the largest part of which comes from Government grants. The capital programme pays for:
- The Greater Manchester Transport Fund (‘GMTF’);
- Metrolink extensions;
- Metrolink Trafford Line extension;
- Other Metrolink Schemes;
- Transport Interchanges;
- Bus Priority;
- Other capital projects and programmes including Transforming Cities, Active Travel, Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) Early Measures Investment Funding (EMIF) , Clean BusInitiatives, OLEV-EV-Taxi, , Smart Ticketing and Cycle City Ambition Grant (CCAG 2);
- Transport Major Schemes;
- Minor Works (including schemes funded by Integrated Transport Capital Block andGrowth Deal);
- Capital Highways Maintenance, Traffic Signals and Full Fibre;
- nvestments including Growing Places, Regional Growth Fund and Housing Investment Fund; and
- Economic Development and Regeneration Schemes.
Hope this is useful. The papers for the meeting which contains all the detail are here. Please get in touch if you have any questions.