New faces join Milton Keynes Council cabinet

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Two new faces have been added to the cabinet at Milton Keynes Council.

Councillor Liz Gifford has been given the community services portfolio, putting her in charge of the city’s libraries, children’s centres and community centres. She will also be responsible for the Community and Cultural Services Review, in which the council is planning to overhaul services such as libraries in a more efficient way, either by sharing premises, working with community groups, or establishing social enterprises.

Councillor Matt Clifton has been handed the business growth and inward investment portfolio, and is tasked with the delivery of well-paid jobs in Milton Keynes. The role will mean working with local businesses on developing the small and medium-sized enterprise sector in Milton Keynes, as well as working to secure and retain larger employers in the town.

He will specifically be looking at how MK Council can work better with businesses on improving skills in the area and how to work with partners to improve important issues, such as parking and public transport, to benefit the economy.

The reshuffle takes place as Councillor Sarah Betteley has recently started maternity leave.

Council leader Pete Marland said: “Our focus remains on delivering an ambitious agenda for Milton Keynes even despite having to make large savings in this year’s budget proposals and beyond.

“Liz Gifford and Matt Clifton bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in the areas of their portfolios to our team from outside the local authority world, adding to the balance we have already in the cabinet of council experience and fresh ideas.

“I’m very clear that as an administration and council we can’t face the huge financial challenges properly by using the same old tired ideas. The world has changed, the council needs to reflect that.”

He added: “Liz and Matt have a great track record in the areas they will cover. Liz has worked with the voluntary, community and charity sector for many years and will bring a drive and determination in turning our current community services into sustainable community-led models for the future.

“Matt has great experience of the skills, investment and business sector and will be fighting to bring and retain well paid jobs to Milton Keynes, improve our skills base and he will be working with our business sector to deliver a MK Council that is responsive to their needs.”