MK faces £210m infrastructure funding gap needed for growth

Leader of Milton Keynes Council Pete Marland
Leader of Milton Keynes Council Pete Marland

Milton Keynes Council is short of £210million to deliver the “critical” housing and jobs the city needs.

At a cabinet meeting last night, council leader Pete Marland said the significant shortfall in funding means the city will “struggle” to expand as rapidly as is required.

He called on the winner of May’s election to sit down with MK leaders and secure funding for the growth of MK for it to continue as the UK’s “economic success story”.

Mr Marland said: “I am disappointed this Government have continually failed to live up to their promises around infrastructure funding for our growing City.

“Unless we sort this out we face a decade of being forced to expand on the cheap. Infrastructure before Expansion or “I before E” has become a sick joke as we face cuts to our funding from Central Government and next to no infrastructure funding we need to enable growth.”

“Our Local Investment Plan shows we have a significant shortfall in the funding we need to deliver growth. Over £70m just for delivering the basics and over £200m for what we really need.”

“We face a decade of being forced to expand on the cheap.”

Councillor Pete Marland, council leader

Current projections show MK needs to build at least 26,000 houses between 2015 and 2026 to meet demand.

Mr Marland says the latest Local Investment Plan highlights a £72.5m shortfall in delivering the “very minimum” infrastructure required to enable or unlock housing and employment delivery between now and 2026.

The funding shortfall grows by another £145m to over £210m if what MK Council terms as “necessary” infrastructure is counted.

While not essential for delivering basic levels of infrastructure, Mr Marland claims this is needed to develop services and communities sustainably, including highways, health, public realm and community facilities.

But Conservative group leader Councillor Edith Bald criticised the Labour leader for his lack of vision for the city.

She said “This is not something Labour have suddenly discovered, this was known last year.

“Labour Leaders line is that funding the gap is government’s job to bridge. He thinks it should come on a plate, an entitlement. This is what we expect of a Labour policy.”

“What we need is a Vision for MK, something more than what is currently being offered. Infrastructure is both an input and output from this vision. This is now an urgent task.

“Conservatives and major stakeholders in MK have offered to help. However very slow progress has been made by the Labour Leader.

“Conservatives would have been much further ahead on this if they were running the council.”