Conservatives hit out at planned council tax increase

Milton Keynes Council

Milton Keynes Council

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An increase in council tax “could have been avoided” if the council’s finances had been “better managed” over the past nine months, claim city Conservatives.

Iain Stewart MP has slammed the annual £22 rise, which was added at the eleventh hour in an attempt to pass tonight’s budget.

Labour say the rise, which amounts to £800,000 for the council, will help save vital public services that had been facing the axe.

Councillor Edith Bald, Tory group leader, said: “We are delighted to have been able to reverse cuts to vital front line services that residents really value.

“However, we are incredibly disappointed that Labour are unable to make the necessary internal efficiencies to fund them and instead have decided to increase council tax.”

A total of £2.5million has been put back into the budget to restore services, including bus subsidies, homeless hostels, voluntary organisations and luncheon clubs.

“The proposed increase in council tax could have been avoided if Labour had managed the councils finances better over the nine months and I can honestly say that we would not have been in this position had we been running the Council.

“Although the new budget is far from perfect, I am confident that we have made enough progress to allow a budget to be agreed tonight. I look forward to tonight’s debate.”

It is believed that the parties will fail to agree a budget - but the Lib Dems and Conservatives abstain from the vote.

This would mean the budget would still be allowed to pass, but demonstrates that both the Conservatives and Lib Dems still do not approve of the amended budget.

Council Leader Pete Marland told the Citizen: “It has been about making changes which are sustainable for the future.

“We did not want to put up council tax, but when we are having to cut £22 million we will have to make difficult decisions.”