Council tax rise on the cards as budget cuts hit

Council leader Pete Marland
Council leader Pete Marland

Cash-strapped taxpayers are facing the largest increase in council tax for a decade, the Citizen can exclusively reveal.

A near four per cent rise in April next year will allow MK Council to rake in an extra £6million – just from council tax income alone.

This week Labour leader Pete Marland revealed how he proposes to slash £21million off its budget in the next financial year.

He wants to rocket council tax to the highest possible amount without a referendum – but is committing to the government rule of spending half on adult social care.

Opposition leader, Conservative Edith Bald said: “We are seeing the biggest rise in 10 years while at the same time introducing swingeing charges for green waste, increased charges for bulky waste and CMK employees are hit by higher charges for their employee parking permits.

“We will be acting on the side of taxpayers to ensure services for vulnerable people are protected and that value for money is delivered.”

Mr Marland hopes to invest in preventable services and find innovative ways of doing business, while providing more than 250 services to the city’s growing population.

Mr Marland said: “It is a small extra bit of money, but it still won’t fill the gap that the extra demand is creating on top of the reduction from the government.”

“Last year we fell into the trap of championing the cuts, however, these are cuts being forced on us so I am not going to say these are the best cuts since sliced bread.”

His plan is being backed by the Lib Dems. Councillor Sam Crooks said: “I think it is right that council tax is going up because we need to protect the least well off and most vulnerable people.”

The proposals will be debated by Cabinet on Monday. - and if approved will be open to public consultation from 15 December 15 to January 20, 2016.

> Budget proposals in brief:

The Labour-led council wants to introduce a charge of £36 per year for garden waste collection.

They are calling for a reduction in bus subsidies, which they admit will result in fewer bus services and potential increased cost for the public.

Warden service for low risk housing could be reduced and the council will end provision of services not required by the care act such as the shopping service.

Mr Marland wants to invest in tackling homelessness, supporting the voluntary sector and protecting community service.