- Restricts Fire precept increase to minimum necessary
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham is proposing a freeze in the Mayoral General precept for 2023/24 but there is a proposal to increase the Fire precept to help maintain services in light of record high inflation and energy costs.
The Mayoral General and Fire precepts are 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.
The Mayoral General precept for 2023/24 will remain the same at £31.75 per year for a Band D property or £21.16 for a Band A property where over 44 percent of Greater Manchester households reside. It will continue to be used to support:
- Bus passengers. In addition to the £2 bus fare cap, continue with the reform of bus services as a key step towards the development of The Bee Network - an integrated ‘London-style’ transport system which will join together buses, trams, cycling and walking and other shared mobility services. The Mayoral precept and Earnback grant funding will fund the procurement and implementation of local bus service contracts (bus franchising) in three ‘Tranches’. Tranche 1 will commence operation in September 2023 covering Wigan, Bolton and parts of Salford and Bury, extending to the whole city region in Tranche 3 by January 2025.
- Young people during the cost of living crisis by extending the ‘Our Pass’ scheme for a further 12 months from September 2023. This will continue to provide free bus travel within Greater Manchester for 16-18 year olds as well as offer pass holders exclusive access to offers, events, discounts and experiences such as festival tickets to careers tasters, sports and leisure passes, amongst others.
- The ‘A Bed Every Night’ emergency response scheme to reduce rough sleeping in Greater Manchester and continue to support local schemes and homelessness partnerships to end rough sleeping. This scheme is supplemented by financial support from the Greater Manchester Integrated Health and Care Partnership, Probation Service, and other partners across Greater Manchester.
A £3.33 per year increase or 6.4 pence per week in the Fire precept for a Band A property is being proposed which will see it rise to £50.80 with a £5 per year or 9.6 pence per week increase for a Band D property making it £76.20. Over 80 percent of properties in Greater Manchester are in Bands A-C so the vast majority of residents will see a smaller increase.
This increase is necessary to ensure that the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service can continue to keep the public safe by ensuring frontline cover is maintained – keeping firefighter numbers higher than those inherited in 2017 when the Mayor took office. It is also needed to support the Service as it continues its journey of improvement, funding important areas of work such as MTA (marauding terrorist attack) training for every firefighter in response to the Manchester Arena Attack, as well as dealing with the record high inflation and energy costs which are impacting on the Service’s estate and fleet.
Central government has not provided adequate funding to mitigate the significant impact of inflation and energy costs, or firefighter pay to help them through the cost of living crisis. The burden, therefore, falls on local council taxpayer to help maintain the current levels of service in terms of the number of fire stations, fire engines and firefighters.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “For the coming year, I have frozen my general precept - and kept the fire increase to the minimum necessary - because I fully appreciate the severe impact the cost of living crisis is having on our residents.
"Like everyone else, our Fire and Rescue Service is facing pressure from high inflation and energy costs. The government has failed to insulate our Service from these pressures and that is why we have been forced into this small increase to maintain service levels.
“While I have frozen my general precept, I will continue to do what I can to help people through the cost of living crisis. That is why we are maintaining the £2 cap on bus fares - at least until September - and supporting our young people with the Our Pass. With more people at risk of rough sleeping, we will also ensure our A Bed Every Night scheme has enough funding to help everyone who needs a safe place to find one."
Article Published: 20/01/2023 09:05 AM