Trafford Labour has, once again, delivered a robust budget that protects frontline services, jobs and the environment despite austerity being ‘far from over’.
Cllr Tom Ross, Executive member for Finance and Investment, had been tasked with balancing a £175m budget while closing a gap of £18.5m, almost £5m more than the previous year.
Cllr Ross, who represents Stretford ward, said he was proud to table a budget that invested in children and families, safeguarded jobs – and went some way to deal with the climate emergency.
Speaking during Wednesday’s Budget meeting, Cllr Ross, said: “I’m proud that Labour has, against a challenging set of financial circumstance, put the needs of residents and businesses first.”
“We understand the struggles people, workers and businesses face on a daily basis – and we have addressed this by delivering a budget that underpins our priorities and responsibilities despite clear evidence that the age of austerity is far from over,” he added.
For more than a decade, the Trafford administration has been forced to make £145m worth of savings – with a further £42m more expected over the next three years.
“We have lost children’s centres, youth services, adult social care services and libraries,” argued Cllr Ross.
“We have lived through a decade of lost opportunity where some of our most vulnerable residents have not received the support they need.”
“Austerity was due to finish at the end of David Cameron’s first term in government- but the reality is we’re looking at least a further three years of spending pressures,” he added.
The administration also has plans to ‘modernise’ how it delivers services in a bid to ‘improve and reshape’ the way it operates.
In addition, children’s services will benefit from an extra £7.2m while £8.2m will be invested in adult’s services.
Both sums are in excess of the funds provided by central government.
Cllr Ross said: “I believe this budget demonstrates how this Labour administration can make a difference, despite the crippling financial challenges it faces.”
“I’m proud to present this robust budget that supports our children and families, jobs – and infrastructure – and looks ahead to the future,” he added.