Agenda item


Report attached from Councillor Richard Gold, Cabinet Member, Finance and Communities.



Councillor Richard Gold, Cabinet Member, Finance and Communities attended the meeting to present a draft version of the anti-poverty strategy.  The report detailed the work undertaken to develop the strategy and provided information in relation to the immediate work required in terms of operational response to assist members of the public with the increases in the cost of living. 


The report had been circulated to Members of the Committee in advance of the meeting and the following issues and queries were raised:


Members discussed the impact of the £150 Council Tax rebate scheme.  Councillor Gold reported that although the additional government money is welcomed more work will be required to address longer term cost of living issues. This work will undertaken by the integrated neighbourhood teams.  


Councillors discussed Greater Manchester Poverty Action Group “push” for Councils to adopt the Socio-Economic Duty Policy, Members expressed their support for its inclusion and adoption.


In response to a question from Councillor Jones, Councillor Gold reported that the report includes a number of key actions in relation to digital inclusion, including; review of the Bury offer, explore linkages with the digital poverty alliance as well as exploring opportunities for social enterprise development.


Members discussed support for the Borough self-employed, Councillor Gold reported, Bury has a larger than average number of micro-businesses.  Nine out of ten businesses in Bury employ less than 9 people.  There is a current challenge is that the rate of failed businesses is greater than that of new businesses – this may be as a direct result of covid given that Bury has a large construction and retail sector though other contributory factors given difficult trading conditions including inflation and Brexit related pressures.

In essence residents travel outside the borough to access higher value employment opportunities.   


Councillor Gold reported that for those residents that do not pay via direct debit they will receive their Council Tax rebate via Post Office vouchers, with 12,000 households to receive these (equivalent value of £2m) within the next week.  The Strategic Partnership Manager reported that as of the 15th June 2022 the Council had made 48,000 payments totalling 7 million pounds.


Responding to a Member’s question in relation to the Armed Forces covenant Councillor Gold reported that since the refreshed Covenant was agreed, significant progress has been made in delivering on the Council and CCG’s commitment.  This has included the roll-out of free leisure passes for military veterans, the development of a dedicated information hub on veterans support for GPs and support to Bury’s voluntary sector veterans groups. The Council’s progress in supporting veterans within the workforce was recognised through achievement of the Silver Award via the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme in May



It was moved by Councillor Birchmore and seconded by Councillor Boroda and it was agreed, unanimously:



That prior to its consideration at the Cabinet Meeting on 13th July the Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommends that


  1. the Cost of Living Support and Anti-poverty Strategy is amended to reference and incorporate the recently published Greater Manchester Poverty Action briefing (Briefing on the current scale of the socio-economic duty in England) and the Cabinet consider as part of its Anti-poverty strategy adopting voluntarily the Socio Economic Duty as detailed in Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010.  
  2. The financial data contained with the report be updated.


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