MK Conservative councillors have been “caught out” taking the public for fools after it can be REVEALED that spending plans they have tabled to try and change millions of pounds worth of council spending are simply made up – including proposed funding that would deliver one twentieth of a promised cricket pitch and just ONE THIRD of a CCTV camera.
Milton Keynes Council will meet on Wednesday night to decide the budget for the next financial year. The Conservatives have tabled additional spending and changes that total around £2.3m out of the overall budget of over £200m.
It can now be revealed that the Tories plan to REVERSE £500,000 funding being proposed to help those struggling to pay fuel bills and fund energy efficient homes – with a plan to pay for adverts on roundabouts and to produce a glossy brochure about Milton Keynes and Brexit.
Many of the amendments have been tabled with no proper costs and would not deliver what they promise.
An amendment to provide a cricket pitch for residents in the Shenley area seeks to “develop a cricket pitch and training facilities,” and budgets just £100,000. Yet reasonable estimates of the costs to develop such a facility would start at around £2m. The funding would therefore cover the cost just one twentieth of the promised facility.
Another amendment seeks to provide CCTV cameras for two bridge links between Loughton and CMK with a commitment to spend £5,000. However, a single mobile CCTV camera cost starts at £7,000, with permanent cameras costing vastly more. The £5,000 Conservative funding would therefore provide just A THIRD of the camera cost required.
The bungling Conservative amendments don’t stop there.
A £15,000 flooding amendment to provide expensive hydrogel bags, at almost twenty times the cost of sandbags, to three rural villages would result in less than one bag being provided per property.
£120,000 funding for a “pest control team” that was recently announced by the MK Tories in media has mysteriously been reduced to a proposal of just £60,000 for one year, which is less than the full cost of a single experienced environmental officer.
Cllr Rob Middleton, Cabinet Member for Resources said:
“The MK Tories are taking people for idiots with their phantom cricket pitches, non-existent CCTV cameras, washed-out flooding prevention and disappearing pest control spending plans. The botched and incompetent proposals show that the MK Conservatives aren’t serious and simply want to generate headlines rather than present real solutions to the problems people in MK face.”
Cllr Robin Bradburn, Deputy Leader of Milton Keynes Council said:
“The MK Conservative amendments are misleading and they haven’t even done the most basic of tasks, but the reality is they are blindly driven by their need for headlines and slogans rather than the needs of the people of MK.
“We are in the middle of a massive cost of living crisis. Yet while the Progressive Alliance propose help to people struggling with fuel bills, the local Tories want to instead spend that money on advertisements on roundabouts and producing a glossy brochure about Milton Keynes and Brexit. It defies belief that as bills land that will cost residents nearly £700 extra a year for fuel, the Tories want to spend tax-payers’ money on roundabout adverts rather than helping people.”
Cllr Middleton concluded:
“Sadly, if the situation wasn’t so serious it would be funny. However, as we come out of the pandemic and people struggle, the MK Conservatives have shown they are incapable of being honest. Just like Boris Johnson they can’t tell the whole truth, but they’ve been caught out in their phoney proposals just like he was partying in Number 10.”