Milton Keynes Council budget is PASSED

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A controversial budget that sparked hours of intense debates and furious protests was passed at tonight’s meeting.

It follows today’s news that 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.

But to be able to afford this, the council tax will have to rise. From next month, the average household will pay £1,160.23 a year - an increase of £22.20.

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

During a heated exchange in the council chamber, leader of the council Pete Marland said he refused to accept that at the “eleventh hour the cavalry rode in to save the day” by making changes to the budget.

“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 £22million we will have to make difficult decisions.

“We had to set a budget which reacted to the challenges we face.

“I am disappointed that in the short-term we didn’t necessarily do what we could have done.”

The budget passed tonight with 24 votes for, 11 against and 16 abstained.

Leader of the Conservative group Edith Bald said: “This budget process has been very messy and the Labour administration has upset a lot of residents and businesses.

“Labour have now caved into pressure and taken our advice in a desperate attempt to get the budget through have injected £2.5m of extra funds.

“However they have also put up council tax to partly fund this which is disappointing.

“They could have managed the budgets better and pushed harder on internal efficiencies to avoid the council tax increase.

“Conservatives would not have increased council tax.”