- Move is intended to help residents by not adding to likely increases in council tax resulting from the Government’s recent spending review
- Mayor will maintain Fire Service at 50 fire engines and current crewing levels
- A Bed Every Night homeless service to continue into financial year 21/22
MAYOR of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has announced his proposal to freeze the Mayoral General Precept for the financial year 2021/22.
If accepted, the proposal will mean, when residents get their council tax bills in March, the Mayoral Precept will remain at £70.73 for a Band B property split between £51.48 for the fire service and £19.25 for other Mayoral-funded services (£90.95 for a Band D property, with the fire service accounting for £66.20 and £24.75 for non-fire).
The Mayoral General Precept is part of the overall council tax paid by Greater Manchester residents and used to fund Greater Manchester-wide services for which the Mayor is responsible. His decision to freeze the precept is intended to relieve pressure on residents who are struggling after the pandemic and facing wider increases in council tax bills following the Government’s failure to fund social care and other council services.
However, despite freezing the Mayoral precept, there will be no impact on frontline fire cover provided by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. The Mayor has committed to running 50 fire engines throughout 2021/22 with crewing at the current level of five firefighters at one pump stations and four firefighters on each engine at two pump stations.
GMFRS has been under significant funding pressure caused by Government cuts since 2010 falling from £75.3m to £52.9m in 2020/21 (with additional one-off funding of £2.6m to deal with the Covid pandemic). More funding has had to be raised locally to plug the gap, and since 2017, firefighters numbers have increased from 1090 to 1162 as part of the Mayor’s pledge to put the frontline first.
The Mayor’s proposal also allows the continuation of his flagship A Bed Every Night scheme into the next financial year. Over the coming winter, at least 520 places will be provided across Greater Manchester to people who have been sleeping rough. Since it began in November 2018, A Bed Every Night has helped reduce the number of people sleeping rough from 268 at the peak to 115 at the latest count - a fall of 57%.
Mayor Andy Burnham said: “The Government’s failure to fund council services means council tax bills are likely to have to rise next year, particularly to fund social care and police. I do not want to give our residents an extra headache and that is why I am proposing to freeze the Mayoral precept.
“This has been a very difficult year for everyone in Greater Manchester. Many people will have lost their jobs or had significantly reduced income and will be uncertain about their futures. Now is not the time for me to be adding to their financial worries.
“But we do need to continue to support our crucial services as we recover from the pandemic. Thanks to careful management of our budgets, we can maintain fire cover at current levels, extend our A Bed Every Night scheme into the next financial year and continue to support our young people.”
Article Published: 09/12/2020 14:46 PM