Council leader slams budget: ‘It lets Milton Keynes down’

Leader of MK Council Pete Marland
Leader of MK Council Pete Marland

Yesterday’s budget “fails” Milton Keynes by leaving people worse off than they were before, according to council leader Pete Marland.

In the first Conservative budget in 20 years, Chancellor George Osborne announced the benefits cap will be reduced to £20,000 outside of London, loans will replace maintenance grants for new students from 2016/17 and public sector pay awards are restricted to 1 per cent per year for the next four years.

Iain Stewart MP and Mark Lancaster MP

Iain Stewart MP and Mark Lancaster MP

Councillor Marland, leader of the Labour group, said: “It is a budget that leaves the majority of working people and families worse off, does nothing to tackle low pay and nothing for growth in MK.

“It fails to tackle the rise in low paid jobs in the City that has occurred over the last five years and will push more families and children into poverty.

“It fails to reward work as it will cut the wages of those who are on low pay, with the money lost not made up by a pale imitation of a real Living Wage.

“The budget lets Milton Keynes down. Working people will earn less, families will be worse off and services will suffer. It is the cost of a Tory Government on MK, it’s a budget that fails our city.”

But in defence of their party’s budget, Conservative MPs Mark Lancaster and Iain Stewart said it was a “one-nation budget for hard working people”.

They said it also put economic security, financial security and national security first.

Mr Stewart said: “It’s a Budget that delivers security for working people and keeps Britain moving from a low wage, high tax, high welfare economy to a higher wage, lower tax and lower welfare country.

“We still have tough decisions to make but it is important for the long term good.”

While MK North MP Mark Lancaster added: “This budget will take people from a life of dependency to a more secure future, by cutting taxes for working people, they are able to save more of what they earn.

“The increased spending in the NHS is particularly good news and Iain and I will both be lobbying to make sure Milton Keynes Hospital continues to get the additional investment it needs.”