FOR the second time in a week, Milton Keynes Council has been applauded at national level for its contribution to the economy.
Speaking in a debate over new homes and investment, Grant Shapps, the Minister of State for Housing and Local Government, praised the council over plans to use cash from the New Homes Bonus scheme, to help fund the transfer of land and assets over from the Homes and Communities Agency.
In response to a comment from local MP Iain Stewart, Mr Shapps said: “(my hon Friend’s) council in Milton Keynes is a shining beacon on housing growth and delivery, which puts many other councils to shame.”
The minister’s comments come hot on the heels of Milton Keynes’ favourable mention in the latest report by Centre for Cities, an independent think tank which rates towns and cities across the UK in terms of indicators such as employment levels, skill sets and economic buoyancy.
Under the New Homes Bonus scheme councils are ‘rewarded’ for each new property that comes onto the Council Tax register – thus providing a strong incentive to encourage and enable new development and economic growth.
Milton Keynes Council will receive £4.425m in the coming financial year, from the Department for Communities and Local Government. This is significantly higher than last year’s - already impressive - figure of £2.514m.
Council Leader Andrew Geary said: “This is yet more praise at a very high level for the way we do things in Milton Keynes – differently, creatively and innovatively – and we are very pleased at the minister’s comments.
“In the past two years more than 3,000 new homes have been built in Milton Keynes – despite the current tough economic climate.
“Tough times require tough but imaginative solutions, and that is what we are doing in Milton Keynes, and clearly that is what we are known for.”