Manchester City Council has launched the main consultation on its 2015-17 budget options along with a number of individual consultations on specific elements.
Options for consultation were agreed by the Council’s Executive on Wednesday 26th November.
They aim to address an estimated funding shortfall of £59m in 2015/16, potentially rising to £90 million in 2016/17. The Council has already had to make £250m of cuts between 2011 and 2015.
It is anticipated that the Council will have to lose the equivalent of around 600 full-time staff, on top of more than 3,000 job losses in the previous four years.
People and organisations who want to give their views on the options now have until Wednesday 18th February to share their opinions through the main consultation.
From Monday 1st December detailed consultations on specific options for services provided by the Children and Families directorate will also be held, remaining open until Monday 26th January. These are on: voluntary and community sector (general and adult social care funding); mental health; youth and play; children and young people; homelessness and housing-related support; drug and alcohol services; wellbeing services; and sexual health services.
Meanwhile a consultation on the option to end free swimming for the under-16s and over-60s will run until Wednesday 7th January.
To find out more, and to take part in the consultations, people should visit www.manchester.gov.uk/budget
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said:
“We understand that people have strong opinions on our budget options and this is their chance feed those views into the decision-making process.
“We have stressed all along that these are options, not proposals at this stage.
“Unfortunately we have no choice but to make the level of savings we need to achieve a balanced budget and these can’t be achieved without some stark choices and unpalatable cuts. The notion that we can find £59m of savings through efficiencies and back-office cuts alone is, I’m afraid, pure fiction.
“That’s why it is essential that we hear and take into account people’s views on the options and if they have viable alternative options we will give them serious consideration. As I’ve said before, we don’t much like the options we have.”
A proposed budget will be put forward when the Council’s Executive meets on Wednesday 18th February with the final decision taken by full council on Friday 6th March 2015.