Council forced to do a U-turn after public backlash on planned budget cuts

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Milton Keynes Council has made a U-turn on abolishing funds for the city’s vulnerable after backlash from the public.

Since December, Labour leader Pete Marland has been speaking at city-wide public roadshows to justify £70million cuts to services by 2020, which has received severe criticism from opposition parties and members of the public.

Changes to this year’s budget proposal, which were announced this afternoon, include continuing to give funds to YMCA, CAB and Age UK.

Mr Marland said: “It was very clear from the responses we received that there was real concern around our proposals for many of our voluntary organisations.

“It was clear that after years of cuts already, many were not in a position to absorb another round of savings.

“We have therefore worked really hard to secure funding to help them be able to transition to a new model of working that preserves their services but means they are less reliant on Council funding.

“The way those organisations have worked with us in the past few weeks in a positive manner is a credit to them.”

There have also been changes made to the original parking proposals, which outlined parking charges would rise to pay for up to 2000 new temporary spaces in the centre.

Reacting to calls from local businesses, Mr Marland says the council will now propose to convert around 250 current premium spaces to standard spaces, introduce ‘family friendly’ parking for weekday employees in the centre and introduce a premium space parking permit.

A proposal to introduce charges in ‘out of town’ areas such as Stony Stratford has been dropped while the council undertakes a work on a more comprehensive parking strategy.

Mr Marland added: “I believe these recommendations are robust and provide a good budget for MK Council and the people of MK in really difficult circumstances.

“We have worked hard to make changes and it is always right that politicians should be willing to listen and make changes where we have got things wrong.

“It is now up to full council, where no single party has a majority, to reach a position that is good for the city. “I am willing to work with any party to do this for the good of the people of MK. We need to pass a budget, I hope we can work together to get that done.”