Trafford’s leading Labour Group have backed fair and balanced budget despite central government slashing millions from the council’s finances.

This year the authority was forced to plug a financial black hole of almost £25m.

Cllr Ben Hartley, who represents Ashton Upon Mersey ward, welcomed the budget but voiced his frustration about the governments unfair funding formula.

“I know a lot of residents will be concerned about the increase in council tax – and it’s not a decision the council makes lightly,” said Cllr Hartley.

“But despite the increase, local government finance overall has in fact decreased by £15bn since 2010.

“It is fair to say that this year’s funding settlement did contain some welcome news, for example, cash injections to fund social care.

“But as I have said previously, the government’s funding settlement bakes in an assumption that council tax will rise by the maximum possible – and it is their chosen method – so that authorities across country can just about keep their heads above water.

Cllr Hartley argued that the £112.6m generated from council tax does not even cover the costs to fund Children’s Services and Adult Social Care, which totals almost £14m.

“It is telling that none of the opposition parties proposed an amendment, but they are happy to criticise a balanced and fair budget,” added Cllr Hartley.

“Meanwhile, Trafford remains the second lowest council tax within the Greater Manchester conurbation despite being one of the worst funded councils in the country.

“Rather than pitting local authorities against each other in competition for a small slice of a shrinking pie of levelling up funding, it’s time that this government recognised that vital public services need adequate funding.”

Cllr Karina Carter, Executive Member for Adult Social Care, echoed her colleagues concerns and pointed out that balancing the budget was a tough ask which is becoming harder each year.

“None of us came into politics to cut services,” argued Cllr Karter.

“And yet again, this government has given us the permission to increase the council tax to pay for the rising cost of social care – a charge they have continually committed to revising.

“Instead, in November, Jeremy Hunt scrapped this long and detailed piece of work deciding that local authorities should shoulder the charges.

“We already know residential and nursing care homes have incurred significant and unavoidable increases in the costs of utilities, food, drink, and petrol, and this is also true to a lesser extent for our homecare agencies.

“So, I was delighted to announce that we have been able to offer an uplift of 9.17pc to our residential and nursing homes and 8.74pc to our homecare agencies.  This additional funding will help maintain our commitment to paying all staff the Real Living Wage and to support the sector with the rising cost of living.

“Meanwhile, Trafford Labour will continue to operate with integrity, prioritising the most vulnerable children and adults, and act with care and diligence for the residents we serve.

“We can proudly say that the Labour Party in Trafford is indeed still making good decisions during hard times.”