THE essential day-to-day services such as bin collections, children’s services and social care many expect to be the norm could soon become a luxury if things do not change.

Councils across Greater Manchester are becoming increasingly stretched with their budgets each year and have pointed the finger firmly in the direction of central government funding.

Although no councils in the region have confirmed they are at risk of going bankrupt, a section 114, they all speak of ‘increasing pressures’ which need to be addressed.

Councils are expecting to spend their reserves when announcing their budget plans for the upcoming year, as they have done in previous years prop up their budgets – which legally need to be balanced annually.

Stockport, Rochdale, Bury and Oldham have all said they are planning on raiding their reserves, but other GM councils could follow suit.

This is significant as reserves are supposed to be for unexpected emergencies such as flooding – not patching up their finances.

Council’s funding goes towards a number of local services such as bin collections, adult social care, children’s social services and various community projects many taxpayers grow up expecting. 

Stockport Council have demonstrated the level of desperation councils recently by revealing their discussion over introducing charges for refuse collection, but eventually decided against.

However, the Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove announced last week that councils across England will receive a £600 million support package to help them deliver key services. The support package will primarily see an additional £500 million added to the Social Care Grant to bolster social care budgets, a key concern raised by councils.

How this will be allocated is yet to be determined though. The further £100m comprises an increase to the Funding Guarantee from 3 per cent to 4 per cent and a variety of other pots of money.

Following the announcement, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “We have listened to councils across England about the pressures they’re facing and have always stood ready to help those in need. This additional £600 million support package illustrates our commitment to local government.

“We are in their corner, and we support the incredible and often unsung work they do day-to-day to support people across the country.”

Wigan Cllr Nazia Rehman, portfolio holder for finance, resources and transformation, said: “As a result of careful financial management over the past decade, Wigan Council has been able to maintain services and continue delivering for residents despite significant cuts to our budget.

“Nevertheless, along with the LGA and local authorities across the country and in the face of increasing pressure on councils, we continue to urge the government to provide a long-term, sustainable plan that helps us manage and navigate the challenging financial situation we all face.

“Without such a plan in place, it is impossible for local authorities to have security for the future so that we can be confident of delivering the many services we provide to residents.”