Budget and Council Tax statement from Michael Cullen, Deputy Chief Executive

During the financial year 2022/23 the Council plans to spend £684m on the provision of a wide range of services to Stockport residents.

This includes £226m for schools which will be met by dedicated government grants, and £57m on the provision of council housing which is met primarily from rent income. After taking account of income from fees and charges and a number of specific grants the 2022/23 net revenue budget for council services has been set at £281m.

What is the cost of providing services?

News - Cost of providing services

Central government continues to place a heavy reliance on local taxation and assumes councils will increase Council Tax by the maximum allowable and raise income through the Adult Social Care Precept when calculating grant allocations to Stockport. For 22/23 the limit at increasing Council Tax before triggering a local referendum is set at 4.5%. However, the council must balance the need to set a robust and resilient budget alongside the impact on residents resulting from increased Council Tax.

Following careful consideration, Council Tax will increase by 3.5% in 2022/23. Of this, 2.5% relates to the increase to the ‘Adult Social Care Precept’ allowed for by Government to provide the council with funding to meet the increasing cost of providing adult social care services to vulnerable residents across the Borough.

Council Tax receipts will total £175.5m (including the Adult Social Care Precept). For a ‘Band D equivalent’ property in Stockport this equates to a Council Tax charge of £1,811.15 in 2022/23.

The council is also required to collect a Mayoral Police and Crime Commissioner Precept and the Mayoral General Precept (including Fire Services) on behalf of the Mayor and Greater Manchester Combined Authority. This results in an overall Council Tax charge for a ‘Band D equivalent’ property in Stockport of £2,142.40 in 2022/23.

In 2022/23 the council will continue to pilot the 100% Business Rates Retention scheme. The council will retain 99% of the Business Rates income collected (1% will be paid to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority for Fire Services). As a result, around £74m of the net expenditure will be met from within the Business Rates funding regime.

Energy rebate

The government has announced a support package available to help people with the rising costs of living particularly the increasing cost of energy. One of these support measures is a £150 energy rebate for those households in bands A to D.

The rebate will be a separate payment to households, rather than a deduction from Council Tax bills. Council Tax bills will reference the energy rebate and will be supported by a government published information leaflet.

If you currently pay your Council Tax via Direct Debit, the council will be able to use your bank details to pay the £150 energy rebate directly into your bank account. Once bank details are verified by the council, you will not need to do anything as the council will make the payment automatically. For those households who do not pay via Direct Debit, there is likely to be an application process to claim your energy rebate. Whilst the council will make every effort to ensure applications are processed quickly, this will take longer to verify and pay the £150 energy rebate to you.

Discretionary support will also be available for vulnerable households who may not qualify for the £150 Council Tax rebate. This includes people on low incomes in Council Tax bands E to H.

Cost of living rebate

In addition, the council is to further support residents by providing a cost of living rebate of £15 to households in Council Tax bands A to D. This is to cover or partially cover the 1% increase in the general element of the Council Tax increase in 2022/23. This will support 82% of households to help with the rising cost of living being experienced by Stockport residents.

Visit our financial support in a crisis webpages for more information on the full range of support available to families struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Positive investments

To support the recovery process and to continue to support the delivery on our ambitions and priorities for the borough, we have identified a number of one-off positive investments using the one-off resources identified in the Medium Term Financial Plan Update. The areas of investment identified by Cabinet are:

Digital inclusion

Enhancing library provision - £0.100m. The last two years have shown just how vital it is to be digitally included in today’s world and yet many Stockport residents remain digitally excluded due to skills, access to affordable devices or access to affordable data. This investment will enable a targeted digital inclusion approach for those communities who are at most risk of being digitally left behind.

Health and Wellbeing

Supporting mental health and addiction services - £0.150m. The additional investment in mental health and alcohol and drugs services will enable the continued targeted outreach support to our communities with high needs. This delivery model of care has made significant progress over the last year and the extension of the funding will allow this bespoke model of support to expand to address the additional needs and health inequalities made even worse by the pandemic. Evidence shows that these type of targeted personalised interventions have the biggest sustainable impact when working with people living with mental health needs or addiction. This investment will be spent on developing Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise capacity and coordination to respond to early intervention/prevention needs, for both families as well as adults; a smaller proportion of the funding is proposed to be dedicated to boosting mental health training for frontline staff (for example, Connect 5 training), and the planned Stockport mental health and wellbeing campaign.

Targeted Youth Support

£0.150m. Building to enhance and embed the newly developed Detached Youth Work Team, to provide on-street engagement and youth provision within local communities. The aim is to reduce Anti-Social Behaviour and Youth Disorder by groups of young people, who choose to gather in local communities in public areas. The model seeks to engage and identify children and young people at risk using youth work skills and mentoring. This is also supported by a schools-based offer to improve liaison, raise awareness and reduce the risk of exclusion.

Flooding Remediation and Environmental Infrastructure

£0.500m. Stockport has experienced some serious flooding issues over the last few years. A great deal of work has been done in order to mitigate against future excessive rainfall but more needs to be done so that our infrastructure is as robust as possible. As part of this drive to reduce flooding we have also committed, through our Climate Change Strategy, CAN, to plant as many trees as possible. This is not only to work towards our goal of carbon neutrality by 2038 but to also increase water attenuation across the borough relieving some pressure on our drainage systems. This very welcome one-off capital investment is an opportunity to add to the significant amount of work already being undertaken and it will make a difference.

District and Local Centres Infrastructure

£0.250m. As the pandemic has shown, our district and local centres are incredibly important centres and lifelines for our communities. This capital investment will go some way to improving the council owned infrastructure that forms part of them and will complement the work we are doing with the Institute of Place Management on the future of our district centres, as well as the much welcomed scrutiny review that is taking place. The investment will enable small capital interventions into the centres which will be assessed on a case by-case to ensure that any such intervention contributes to the vibrancy and vitality of the centre. It will also potentially give the opportunity for Cabinet to revisit the interest-free loan scheme proposed in 2019 which was put on hold during the pandemic.

Armed forces Veterans engagement and development

£0.100m. A short term investment into community engagement and support for our veterans community will reinforce the Council’s commitment to strengthening the armed forces partnership and facilitating a joined up approach to the delivery of services to those who have served, who are still serving and their families. This will ensure that they are not disadvantaged and have equity of opportunity as set out in the armed forces covenant. This will be achieved by reviewing the priorities agreed by the partnership group and utilising this funding and other available resources to deliver appropriate initiatives to meet the needs identified with a view to developing a long term sustainable offer across the borough.

How is the council funded?

News - How the council is funded

2022/23 Capital Programme

The council has ambitious capital investment plans for the Borough to help regenerate the local economy, create jobs and develop strong communities. Future capital investment plans are extensive and varied and the Capital Strategy and three-year Capital Programme will enable significant improvements to the council’s infrastructure, deliver new housing and boost the local economy.

The council’s 2022/23 three year Capital Programme is £328m in total and includes capital schemes to deliver capital plans as follows:

  • highways and infrastructure. This includes capital schemes for the A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road, Highways Investment Programme, Town Centre Access Plan and the Mayoral Walking and Cycling Challenge Fund
  • housing. This includes capital schemes to support the programme of housing general capital works and the Affordable Housing Programme
  • regeneration. This includes capital schemes to support the regeneration of the Town Centre and District Centres including major schemes to support the regeneration of Stockport Exchange, Merseyway redevelopment work, the Markets and Underbanks regeneration scheme and the Greater Manchester Local Full Fibre Network Programme

The Capital Programme is funded by capital grants and contributions from government and other third parties, revenue contributions to capital spend and borrowing.

Visit our Council Tax webpages for more information about the council’s budget, Council Tax and precepts.

Michael Cullen, Deputy Chief Executive