No increase in council tax bills in city’s budget

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Taxpayers will not face an increase in their bills for the coming year despite council pressure to save around £15million.

Reduced Government funding means that the council has to save the multi-million pound figure and between 10 per cent and 15 per cent on average annually over the next five years.

However, people will not see an increase in the Milton Keynes element of their bills. Weekly rubbish collections will be maintained, £50million will be invested in road repairs and there will be no increase in car parking charges.

There will also be a planned investment of £1.8m in bus infrastructure

Council Leader Andrew Geary has pledged that frontline services, including Adult Social Care and Children’s Social Care. will be protected despite reducing funding from the Government.

He said: “We’ve had some real challenges this year, for example dealing with the fallout of the changes in the Council Tax benefits system, where around 20% of people have found themselves suddenly having to pay Council Tax.

“We have also made some considerable steps forward – for example starting to build the first new council houses in a decade and a half, and agreement to invest £50m on roads, plus fixing the backlog of pot holes and road repairs.

“Our record in education attainment for both GCSE and A-levels is fantastic and we have had the best year yet in terms of business start-ups.

“Employment is up and the number of benefit claimants down. Some 700 people from our most deprived areas, helped by the council’s Neighbourhood Employment programme have succeeded in finding employment. This is a wonderful achievement for those individuals, congratulations to every one of them.”

Councillor Edith Bald, the Cabinet member for Finance, said: “I am proud of the record the Council has in managing its budget well.

“This is tough environment, make no mistake about it, but we have worked hard to maintain the services on the frontline which all residents value and to make sure the most vulnerable members of the community are protected.”

In the last year the Council has saved more than £16million through various measures, for example reducing headcount among senior management, better use of office space, and encouraging economic development and job creation thus reducing demands for services on the Council – and ultimately the Council Tax payer.