The Progressive Alliance which runs Milton Keynes City Council has revealed its financial plans for next year that will provide more cost-of-living support, invest in securing local jobs and will make no cuts to services despite having to save over £11m.
The City Council plans to increase the level of funding it is providing to support local families and those on low incomes during the cost-of-living crisis. The City Council is proposing funding to introduce an Emergency Mortgage Interest Rate Support scheme, aimed at providing short-term help to homeowners who are hit by increases in mortgage interest rates which have sky-rocketed after the disastrous Conservative budget in September.
The draft budget plans also include investment to support the local economy as the on-going recession starts to bite, with proposals to boost local High Streets, support small businesspeople and help people back into employment if they lose their job.
Despite having to find £11m in savings, the Progressive Alliance is not proposing any service cuts, with funding provided to keep all libraries and children’s centres open, keep weekly bin collections and maintain a free garden waste collection service.
Milton Keynes City Council will find over half of the required savings through efficiency savings, reducing the number of managers and reducing overall headcount employed by the City Council with no impact on service delivery.
However, the City Council is increasing council tax by the 4.99% the Chancellor recently announced in the Autumn Statement. Despite this, the increase is under half the level of current inflation and means that the average council tax in Milton Keynes will still be the lowest in the region and around £200 less than in neighbouring authorities.
The draft budget will be formally proposed for consultation next week with a final vote by all councillors in February.
Cllr Peter Marland, Labour Leader of Milton Keynes City Council, said:
“The Conservative government have crashed the economy, the country is locked in strife and local people are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. We are all paying the price for successive Conservative governments.
“The Progressive Alliance is proposing a budget that is on the side of our residents. We will provide more support to people during the cost-of-living crisis, invest in our local economy to keep people in jobs, and cut waste not services.”
Cllr Robin Bradburn, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader of Milton Keynes City Council, added:
“I came into local politics to help people. I’m pleased that due to the strong and competent way we run our finances, we can propose a package of support and investment to help people when they need it most and boost our economy. While councils all over the country are cutting services, here in Milton Keynes we are keeping weekly bin collections and not closing a single library or children’s centre.”
Cllr Marland concluded:
“We will always look to provide the best value for money council that we can. Our council tax is already the lowest in the region. Increasing council tax by 4.99% is a difficult choice but one that has been forced on us by Conservative Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. However, it is still below inflation and over half of our savings have come from making the council more efficient rather than tax rises.
“Our budget is one that ensures low council tax, more support for a wide range of residents, invests in our economy and doesn’t cut services. It shows the Progressive Alliance is on the side of local residents in tough times.”