According to GMCA, the total net deficit facing local government finance is £368m when taking grants and reserves into account.
The ten Greater Manchester councils are estimating additional costs of £225m – with £71m spent on increased adult social care, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and reduction in charging income (day support).
An extra £18m will go towards children’s social care, £13m on education, £33m on housing, highways and public health.
Council finances have also suffered due to a lower amount of commercial income, business rates, council tax, and sales, fees and charges during the pandemic.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “The COVID crisis has landed heavily on our councils after a decade of severe cuts. Even so, they have been working wonders in recent weeks to support people and communities through this and now need and deserve the Government’s direct help.
“Councils will be crucial to the recovery from COVID and getting communities back on their feet, but won’t be able to play that role with a black hole in their finances.
“This analysis lays bare the scale of the funding challenge facing Greater Manchester’s councils. Without urgent support, this funding crisis will engulf local government and endanger the vital services that councils provide to the community, particularly for the most vulnerable.
“We know that this virus has hit the poorest communities hardest. We have also heard the Government’s promises to “level up” the country. The time has come for it to make good on those promises and give Greater Manchester and its councils the resources they need to lead recovery and build back better.”
David Molyneux, Leader of Wigan Council and Portfolio Lead for Resources added: “Local government finances have been under pressure for many years, and what this health pandemic has done is exposed how our public services have been stripped to their bare bones.
“We’ve risen to the challenge to help those who need it, but it’s been at a massive expense. The balance sheet of expenditure and losses shows the stark financial toll we’re having to bear.”
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has also been severely impacted by the COVID crisis and subsequent lack of passengers.
According to GMCA, grants from theDepartment for Transport (DfT) of £24.97m have helped to “provide a welcome relief” but still leave TfGM with a £1.8m deficit.
Without further government support, GMCA have warned there will be further deficits of £30-£40m for the rest of the financial year (Aug 2020-Mar 2021).
Discussions between GMCA and DfT are ongoing.
The first bright yellow Bee Network bus has hit the streets of Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester residents will soon start to see bright yellow double decker buses travelling the region’s streets in the coming weeks.
With exactly six months to go before Greater Manchester “brings buses back under local control”, Mayor Andy Burnham has joined a number of other local leaders in unveiling the brand-new ‘Bee Network’ co-branded buses.
In what marks the biggest change to transport in Greater Manchester for almost 40 years, according to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), bus operator Diamond – which currently runs services in Bolton – has teamed up with Go North West to run the first franchised services in Wigan, Bolton, and parts of Salford and Bury from September this year.
Diamond has agreed to start transforming their buses into Bee Network ones from this week, with more set to appear on the roads every month.
The first bright yellow double decker bus has now hit the streets of Bolton, and is serving the number 8 route – which connects Bolton and Manchester city centre via Farnworth and Salford.
As already announced by TfGM and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), when franchising is officially introduced on 24 September 2023, 50 brand-new electric Bee Network buses will hit the streets on day one, alongside new ‘Euro VI’ vehicles, and dozens more co-branded buses from the existing fleet.
A further 50 electric buses will then be introduced onto the network in March 2024, which is when the second part of franchising starts.
All of the 270 new electric Bee Network buses will be fully accessible, with wheelchair bays, hearing induction loops, audio and visual announcement systems, and anti-slip flooring.
Mayor Andy Burnham said the first Bee Network bus entering service is “very much the start of our journey”, and added that the scheme will “ultimately deliver a greener, integrated and more inclusive transport system that will transform how people travel around our city-region.”
Transport Commissioner Vernon Everitt also called the first bus’s introduction onto the streets as “a further significant step” towards the integration of the Bee Network and the “transformation” of public transport and active travel in the region.
He continued: “From September we’ll also have dozens of new state-of-the-art buses serving passengers in Wigan, Bolton, and parts of Salford and Bury.
“These will be the first of many across Greater Manchester that will, alongside the new lower fares – which are already increasing ridership – and improvements to travel information, improve bus travel for everyone who lives and works here.”
Featured Image – TfGM
Stockport teacher filmed ‘throwing student to the floor’ after being kicked out of his lesson
A teacher at a school in Stockport appears to have been recorded throwing a student to the floor after kicking the child out of his lesson.
In the clip that began circulating on social media last week, a pupil from Harrytown Catholic High School can be seen being escorted out of a classroom by a teacher whose identity is yet to be released.
After an inaudible conversation takes place in the doorway as the student presumably tries to remain in the room, the teacher can then be seen grabbing the young student and pushing him out of the doorway.
Following a slight struggle, the teacher then seemingly pushes the child again, at which point he appears to fall to the ground and the video cuts out. The caption reads: “This is how teachers at Harrytown Stockport treat their pupils. Justice for Oliver”.
At this stage, it still remains unclear whether Oliver (whose age is yet to be confirmed) was intentionally thrown to the floor or simply fell following the momentum from the push.
Either way, it doesn’t look good and obviously hasn’t gone down well with students or their guardians
Harrytown is a secondary school in the Stockport village of Romiley, teaching children aged from 11-16, and was awarded ‘Good’ by Ofsted in its most recent rating. However, many parents now have found themselves in the comments slamming the institution.
One mother claimed that “a teacher pushed my child in that school, they denied it [and] my kids been out of school since”, with another alleging that “the girl that videoed it got excluded for 5 days”, adding that they went on to send it to Manchester Evening News.
Speaking of the MEN, as per a statement issued to the outlet, Interim Director of Children’s Services and Director of Education for Stockport Tim Bowman said: “We are aware of an incident that took place at the school and we are following all appropriate due processes. We cannot comment further at this time.”
As for the school itself, they also insist that they are aware of the video and are now investigating the situation but cannot provide any further information either.
Oliver’s family are also yet to issue any form of comment following the incident.