I chaired my first meeting of the Pension Fund recently which I’m pleased to say has a very successful track record and it is the largest local authority fund in the country, valued at over £10.4billion.
The financial and economic conditions have significantly reduced the level of private sector commercial property development being undertaken which should provide opportunities to the Fund’s development arm, Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund, to acquire and progress development opportunities over the next few years, helping economic regeneration in the area.
The council is currently updating its Medium Term Financial Strategy, which is challenging because of the uncertain future funding for local government. Therefore we are developing “best” and “worst” case scenarios to help us plan ahead. It is clear that we will face very significant challenges over the coming years but are determined to face up to these challenges and have sound plans in place.
In May the Government announced local government spending cuts of £1.165 billion (nearly 19% of all their announced cuts). We have now received some of the details and are facing a reduction of £2.3 million in our funding which will need to be added to our existing savings of £7.2 million for this year.
We are currently putting plans in place to identify how we can find these extra savings and will continue to update the position as the Government provides more details.