Reaction to proposed cuts to Milton Keynes’ services: ‘It’s appalling’

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Cuts to public services to save £70million by 2020 will “seriously damage the economy of our city centre”, according to top Tory Edith Bald.

Councillor Bald says the Milton Keynes Conservatives have reacted with “anger and dismay” to the draft budget proposals, which are set to be agreed at the meeting of the Labour Cabinet on December 8.

The plans include a hike to the cost of parking, potential closures of library and children’s centres, removal of black sacks and an increase of bus fares for junior and senior passengers.

Mrs Bald said: “This is an utter disgrace. If these proposals are implemented they will seriously damage the economy of our city centre, leave our citizens without much needed facilities and lead to our city becoming dirty and polluted with fly tipping.

“I will be requesting an immediate economic impact assessment of the proposed car parking charge hikes and will be challenging these disgraceful proposals at every possible opportunity.

“Coupled with the predicted £3million overspend in the current financial year, here is proof that Labour lack the ability to keep spending under control and have no strategy to secure ongoing delivery of vital services and facilities in the future.”

This morning the council announced it must save £22million in order to deliver the 2015/2016 budget.

But that figure is just the tip of the iceberg as a total of £70million must be saved by 2020, the report states.

Pete Marland, leader of Milton Keynes Council, says “significant changes” must be made following funding cuts from the government.

He said: “We know people value these services, but we believe that by working with local communities to deliver services differently we can minimise the impact of our funding challenges.

“We believe in a co-operative borough, where we all have a part to play. We must all work together to ensure Milton Keynes remains an excellent place to live, despite government funding reductions.

“We need to stand together as a community to help us make the best judgements we can in what we know are very difficult circumstances for us all.”

Conservative deputy leader, Councillor Andrew Geary, said: “In the face of huge cuts from Central Government the Conservative Administration protected front line services, protected valuable facilities and provisions for residents such as Libraries and Children’s Centres and only raised car parking charges modestly after seven years of no increases.

“It has taken Labour less than six months to attempt to undo everything we sought to protect. It’s appalling.”