Council tax will rise by 3.49 per cent in 2020 to help fund a £2.5m 'Green Revolution' for Milton Keynes

MK Council has pledged to spend more than £2.5m on tackling climate change in the New Year - but council tax will rise by 3.49 per cent to help pay for it.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 1:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 1:28 pm

There will also be £6m of "savings" made from the existing budget, says the council's Labour administration.

Their newly-announced climate change proposals include introducing low cost bus travel, creating new woodlands and establishing wildlife corridors across the city.

There will be be green 'living' roofs on bus shelters and porte cocheres throughout MK.

MK council leader Pete Marlnd

The plans are part of the consultation due to be launched today on the 2020 budget, which will will also see an extra £2m spent cleaning up the city and £4m on tackling homelessness.

Labour's green revolution proposals include a new low cost public transport scheme for 16 – 21 year olds, and proposals to plant 2000 new trees to create new woodland.

The budget also focusses on 'getting the basics right,' with proposals including £1m to improve the city centre, extra funding for cleaning litter hotspots, tackling fly-tipping and clearing overgrown weeds, and £4m extra cash to tackle homelessness.

Other promises from Labour include more cash for fixing potholes and a new resurfacing scheme for redways, and new funding to tackle anti-social behaviour, more CCTV and combat knife crime.

There will be more green roofs

Council leader Pete Marland said the majority of the money for spending is from “one-off,” resources due to a small surplus generated by good financial management over the past five years and a slightly higher level of one-off term funding from the government than expected.

However, MK Council is still expecting its overall budget to be cut by an additional £6m in 2020/21 on top of the £170m in cuts already imposed by central government.

To help offset this, the council plans to increase in council tax by 3.49 per cent and make "savings" or cuts totalling £6m. These will be from "efficiencies and pre-planned spending reductions", said Pete.

He said: “We promised that tackling the climate emergency would be top of our list and we have proposed a “Green Revolution,” budget for MK Council to start the process of meeting the very challenging ambition of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030, focussing on things we can do quickly like creating new woodland, wildlife corridors and introducing green roofs on bus shelters and porte cocheres.

"We are also going to introduce a low cost public transport scheme for 16 – 21 year olds as a trial to see if we can decrease dependency on the car, reduce the number of short car journeys and cut emissions. It was a key manifesto pledge last May.”

Pete added: "“However we know that after a decade of austerity most people will say “but what about getting the basics that I care about right, why aren’t you spending money on that?” And we agree, so we are doing both. We are proposing new money to clean up litter hotspots, tackle fly-tipping, and cut back overgrown weeds and brambles.

"We want to spend an extra £1m next year on improving our city centre to ensure it continues to be a place businesses want to come, invest and create well paid jobs, and we will continue to improve highways with more money for fixing potholes and a new redway resurfacing programme.

"It is also essential we find an extra £4m for tacking homelessness in the city, which will continue to support people made homeless and provide on-going resources for meeting our commitment that every rough-sleeper can access long term accommodation and support if they need it."