Councillors in Trafford are being urged to support a motion urging the government to give the borough a fairer funding deal. The motion has been put forward at the next meeting of Trafford Council and calls on the government to fix the broken system of local authority finance.
Trafford is one of the 20 lowest-funded councils in the country and its council tax levels are the second lowest in Greater Manchester. Since 2010, Trafford has suffered a 60% cut in its budget in real terms and has had to close budget gaps totalling £288 million.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies identified Trafford as the lowest funded local authority compared to 150 similar authorities, meaning it receives £11m less each year on average than similar authorities.
Council leader Cllr Tom Ross said:
“We’ve had announcements of fair funding reviews and business rates resets but they’ve been empty promises.
“This isn’t something where the government can just sit on their hands. The most vulnerable people in our society will suffer if we can’t afford to continue to give them the right support.”
The motion, to be debated at the meeting on 31 January, notes that Trafford is one of many councils struggling to maintain current services.
A survey revealed almost one in five council leaders and chief executives think it is very or fairly likely that they will need to issue a section 114 notice this year or next. A section 114 notice is where a council effectively declares themselves bankrupt. A number of councils have already issued section 114 notices, leading to drastic cuts in services.
Cllr Ross added:
“We are not in section 114 territory, but it is a real struggle to set a budget for the next financial year. This broken system affects councils of all political backgrounds. We need the government to act now and supply the funding local government finance needs.
“Our children and vulnerable adults rely on us. Give us fair funding so we give them the help they need.”
The motion also asks for Trafford MPs and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to continue to support the campaign and publicly call on the government to deliver a fair funding settlement for Trafford.
Posted on Friday 26th January 2024