Milton Keynes budget crisis - what could happen tonight?

This evening city bosses will have a second attempt at passing a budget for Milton Keynes, one week after the original plans publicly fell apart last week.

What will happen this evening?

Option 1: All three parties agree a new budget

Labour do not have a majority at Milton Keynes Council, and rely on getting other parties to support any measures they introduce.

However on Wednesday night both opposition parties voted against the council’s annual budget - something virtually unprecedented in the city’s history.

All three parties held an all-day emergency summit on Friday, and talks have been continuing ever since.

If they can agree a deal for a new budget then it is likely to pass with all parties’ support.

Option 2: The parties fail to agree a budget - but the Lib Dems and Conservatives abstain from the vote

This option would still allow the budget to pass, but would show that both the Conservatives and Lib Dems still do not approve of the amended budget.

It would also add fuel to claims by the opposition parties that the Labour administration has not been willing to cooperate with them - but would mean that Labour can go ahead with the budget without any input from the other parties.

Option 3: Labour do a deal with one - but not both - of the opposition parties

This would also mean that the budget passes, and would require Labour to do a deal with only one of their opponents.

Whoever they fail to make an agreement with would be free to vote against the budget without threatening its passage - but would have no say in the amended budget.

Alternatively Labour could do a deal with both the leaders of both opposition parties, yet have some councillors still vote against the deal, while still seeing the budget pass.

Option 4: Both the Conservatives and Lib Dems vote against the budget

The nuclear option. Together the Lib Dems and Conservatives have more councillors than Labour, and if they want cannot reach an agreement then they could block the council’s entire budget for the next 12 months.

Council leader Peter Marland has already accused opposition parties of taking the city “to the brink”. This would be the move that pushes the council over that brink, and might eventually mean the government has to step in and set its own budget for Milton Keynes.

Privately all three party leaders say they are keen to avoid this.

Citizen archives:

Budget crisis takes council ‘to the brink’

Council budget protestors

Emergency budget talks taking place today