Reporting Back: Budget Council

Bury Council met on Wednesday 24 February 2021 to set the Council Budget for the coming year, including the rates of Council Tax. Here is a summary of what happened:

The proposals from the majority Labour Group of councillors were adopted. This includes:
5% increase in Council Tax (actually 4.94%) from 1 April 2021. For a Band D property the Council Tax will be £2001 per year (this ranges from Band A £1334 to Band H £4002)
1.5% increase in Council House rents
– To balance the books, the Council is proposing to make around £20 million of cuts/savings over the next two years (mostly to adult social care), but also to spend £26 million of its reserves (taking the reserves level down to a very low level (just £11 million after two years)).
– The budget assumes that the Longfield Suite and the Elizabethan Suite will close (but there was a change of mind in Ramsbottom and the Civic Suite there will stay open).
Street lights will be dimmed between midnight and 6am.
£17 million will be spent next year on Radcliffe Regeneration. Regeneration in other towns is moving more slowly, so the investment in Prestwich next year is just £75,000.

Some good news in the proposals was that the Council will ‘more towards’ Social Care staff being paid a living wage (but that won’t be achieved immediately). Lunches for children entitled to Free School Meals will be provided over this summer holiday.

What did the Liberal Democrats do?
Liberal Democrat councillors voted against the above budget. There are some good things, and obviously the Council is having to do its best in difficult circumstances, but we couldn’t not support many of the proposals.

We made alternative proposals, which were sadly voted down, to:
Bring Forwards the Prestwich Regeneration, accelerating this process but £3 million a year.
Put Recovery First – by investing in young people’s jobs and training with a massive increase in apprentices, helping out with children’s mental health in schools and with outdoor leisure and footpaths.
No Idling Zones outside Schools – provide money to enforce no-idling zones outside all schools to tackle air pollution that particularly affects children.
Common Sense Ideas – fixing the CCTV that doesn’t work in Prestwich Town Centre, more money across Bury to tackle rat runs, speeding traffic and potholes.
Sadly these proposals were voted down by Labour Councillors and will not be happening this year.

You can listen to Liberal Democrat Councillors Michael Powell and Cristina Tegolo talking about this proposals here (3 hours 2 minutes in!)

Let us know if you want more information. The full papers for the meeting are here.

6 thoughts on “Reporting Back: Budget Council

  1. Brian Hulme says:

    To be prepared for the event … Who do I contact to put in a claim for damage to my vehicle caused by a deep pothole. Or can I take the money out of my council tax to pay my own bill. Same misappropriation of funding as the £700/day electioneering bill paid by this council.

  2. Irene Burwin says:

    I thought the council got more Money last year from government for Social care and the increase in council tax that year also.

    So have we lost the Longfield??? Did you support the saving of Longfield. The council are stripping Prestwich bare

  3. Valerie Clark says:

    If the Longfield Centre is closed, an alternative community meeting place must be provided. The large hall (which boasts the best dance floor between here and Blackpool) hosts dance classes, social dances, health classes, art and craft fairs, and many entertainments with large audiences at tables and chairs on floor level. The small room is used for yoga, singing classes and displays and many other events. The whole building is a community hub and also provides accessible free toilets during the day. The loss of this building for the whole of Prestwich must be taken into consideration if it is to close and the surrounding shops must be given the same kind of accessible location. It may not look good from the outside but its interior is priceless for the community

  4. Geoffrey Schofield says:

    How on earth can the council justify such a large increase taking into effect the financial hardships caused by the pandemic?

  5. Sharon Moorhouse says:

    Typical that Ramsbottom is to keep its civic centre. We in the south of the borough are always left behind.

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