Council services at risk as budget is squeezed by £22million

Milton Keynes Council
Milton Keynes Council

Libraries and children’s centres are safe - but pinks sacks have been sent to the scrapheap as MK Council announces its proposed budget savings.

Labour leader Pete Marland wants to charge for garden waste and has called for a small reduction in bus subsidies as he makes “tough choices” ahead of the financial year.

He also wants to reduce the warden service for low risk housing and end council provision of services not required by the Care Act such as the Shopping Service.

These changes are being proposed to help save £22million from the council’s budget by next year.

Mr Marland said: “Many people may have grown accustomed to hearing about cuts and perhaps believe it is getting easier. It isn’t.

“MK Council faces some increasingly tough choices. We are working smarter and harder than we ever have to improve, streamline and modernise services.

“Government reductions in funding, for example the almost two-thirds reduction in Revenue Support Grant over the next four years, the £800m national reduction on New Homes Bonus, as well as the reduction in Public Health funding mean we continue to live in very challenging times.

“We believe the proposals in this budget balance the our priorities, such as tackling homelessness, supporting he voluntary and charity sector and protecting community services with the need to make some really tough decisions whether it is on pink sacks or adult social care changes.

“None of these are easy and that is why we want to get people engaged in these decisions, help them understand why we are having to do make them and how they can influence the final decision.”

Since 2011/2012 the council has delivered £68m of savings, and is currently delivering a further £21m savings in the current financial year, 2015/2016.

The council provides more than 250 services to the city’s growing population of more than a quarter of a million.

But they say ongoing reductions in government funding, combined with extra financial pressures, means the council must find “further innovative ways of doing business”.

The proposals will be debated by Cabinet on December 14, and if approved will be open to public consultation from 15 December 15 to January 20, 2016.