Council leader passes budget with a “heavy heart”

MK Council leader Pete Marland
MK Council leader Pete Marland

The leader of Milton Keynes Council declared “this is not my budget” while delivering it to full council tonight.

Councillor Pete Marland said he was passing the budget with a “heavy heart” but said he had been forced into £22million worth of cuts by central government,

He told the council: “The responsibility of these cuts lies with the two Tory MPs for MK who have consistently voted to reduce the funding but are not here to face the public.

“It is a sound budget which balances the books but I pass it with a heavy heart.

“I did not come into politics to make cuts. These are not the cuts of this Labour group - this is not my budget.”

Mr Marland said that MK Council will receive 80 per cent less funding in 2020 than it did in 2010.

He added that the three political parties were arguing over £250,000 worth of cuts out of a £200million budget and £22million cuts.

Sparks flew in the chamber as his numbers were refuted by opposition leader Councillor Edith Bald.

The Conservative group leader said: “It is wrong for you (Pete Marland) to say you have no choices. Of course you have choices.

“It’s about time you told the truth - not massage the statistics.”

Mr Marland ended his speech by saying that there are good things to come out of the budget.

He said: “We are continuing to spend £200million to provide public services. We are not closing any children centres or libraries.

“We are continuing to invest in schools and highways. In fact we are building seven new schools and expanding 12 more. We are also investing more money into helping homeless people.”