Council tax to rise by 3.75% in Milton Keynes next year
But they'll be no cuts to services, say councillors
Council tax in Milton Keynes is to rise by 3.75% next year, budget papers have revealed.
Despite MK Councll needing to find £5m to balance the book in 2022, councillors are trying to keep the rise as low as possible.
They have the ability to increase council tax by more than 5%, but the Labour/Lib Dem Progressive Alliance proposes to opt for the lower than inflation increase.
This means the council will have to use £3m of reserves and also find £2m in "efficiency savings" to fund the shortfall. The savings have not yet been fully outlined but are due to be presented to shortly at the budget-setting meeting.
The Progressive Alliance says no service cuts are planned in the budget and there will be extra spending on highways, fly-tipping and support services.
They say their budget "puts people and services first".
Additional spending is being proposed to maintain weekly residual waste collections, tackle litter and fly-tipping and improve the appearance of grid road landscaping. More resources are proposed to help homeless families and support will continue for the city's most vulnerable residents and children.
Other proposals include continuing to support to businesses during the pandemic recovery, help for high streets and freezing car parking charges in CMK for the sixth successive year in a row to support the city centre.
Much of the budget shortfall is due to the increased demand for social care, which now accounts for almost half of all council spending. The highest inflation rate in a decade has increased the costs of several council contracts to run services, and soaring energy prices mean that the council needs to
find an extra 25% to pay the energy bills to literally keep the lights on.
Milton Keynes Council already has one of the lowest council tax rates in the country, with the average Band D property paying £1,465.59, which is around £150 a year cheaper than our regional neighbours.
Cllr Rob Middleton, Cabinet member for Resources, said: “The Progressive Alliance budget we are proposing for consultation today looks to put people and services first. Other councils up and down the country are cutting back services and ripping away vital support from the most vulnerable, because of a decade of Conservative cuts.
"But here in Milton Keynes we are not making cuts, in fact, we are continuing to invest in the things that matter, while providing value for money and keeping council tax low.”
Cllr Robin Bradburn, Lib Dem deputy leader of the council, said: “I’m proud of the budget the Progressive Alliance has put together and the work we are doing. We’ve supported jobs and our local economy which means we can continue next year without making the cuts to services and support that we have seen in other places. I’m also proud that the budget continues to focus on Liberal Democrat priorities of supporting the most vulnerable and
tackling child poverty.”
Council leader Cllr Peter Marland said: “The past two years have been tough. The pandemic has hit everyone hard and battered council finances. Demand for social care continues to rise and costs are rapidly increasing; inflation, higher energy bills and a volatile situation all mean this is a very difficult budget.
He added: “However, with a below-inflation council tax rise, no cuts to services and, actually, increasing investment on the things that people want to see, like weekly waste collections, tackling fly tipping and improving grid roads, we believe our budget proposals strike the right balance between value
for money and putting people and services first.”
The full budget papers are due to be uploaded to MK Council's website herethis evening.