Manchester councillors make plea for government funding as drastic cuts loom for 2021

  • City Council predicts budget shortfall of £100m for coming year
  • Councillors fear next year will be the 'hardest yet' as the impact of the pandemic is felt
  • Cuts to services will be result of budget restictions

Drastic budget cuts are predicted by Manchester City Council over the next year as the impact of the pandemic hits home.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the council shared it is facing a budget shortfall of more than £100m as a result of increased costs and income losses this year, in addition to pre-existing budget pressures.

Councillors are predicting that the true financial impact of the pandemic will not be felt fully until 2021. Simultaneously, social care costs are set to increase.

The statement says: “As things stand, without significant government support, the £100 million+ forecast shortfall would equate to around a 20% cut in service budgets.

“This comes on top of ten years of austerity which have necessitated that we make £379m worth of cumulative cuts”

Sir Richard Leese, council leader, added: “We have navigated through some tough times in the last decade but next year looks set to be the hardest yet”.

He said the council aims to maintain the “people’s priorities” of protecting the vulnerable, delivering essential services and creating sustainable jobs, but that achieving this will require some “very difficult decisions”.

Sir Richard is adamant that “we need a financial settlement from Government which recognises the crucial role the council plays at the heart of the city”.

In response to the council’s statement, Councillor for Rusholme Ahmed Ali said: “The central government need to design financial support packages for individual Cities”. Considering Manchester’s pre-existing budget issues, he added that support should be “based on poverty and deprivation and the level of needs in the area”.

A report on how the council plans to navigate the difficult year to come will be published in November. For now, the city’s uneasy relationship with central government looks set to rumble on.