VIDEO: Budget roadshow discusses £70million cuts

City-wide public roadshows justifying £70million cuts to services have come to end as the consultation period ends tomorrow.

Over the past seven weeks, council leader Pete Marland has visited locations across the city to explain Labour’s proposals to axe or radically change how services are run. There have also been two events for council staff.

The two council events have attracted 250 people, but less than 150 residents have attended the six public roadshows, or an average of 24 at each event.

Conservative group leader, Councillor Edith Bald, who attended last week’s event in Oxley Park, said: “There was not a positive reaction at all.

“Almost half of the time was taken up with presentations and political speak from Mr Marland, not leaving much time for questions.

“When the public did speak, very difficult questions were being asked - but the answers have not been very satisfying.

“They are pretending to listen to people’s views but they are not.”

Libraries, community projects, children’s services and city buses are likely to be hit during the cost-cutting mission, as the council aims to cut £22million from this year’s budget, and a further £48million by 2020.

Responding to the criticism, Mr Marland said some of the consultations have been standing room only, and pointed to the 800 people who have viewed a video about the cuts which has been produced by the council and can be seen online.

He said: “I don’t think it was a disappointing turnout when you compare it to last year when there were zero responses as the council didn’t hold a consultation like this.

“This is the first time we’ve done this so it is a learning process. I don’t want to stop doing them.

“This is about changing the culture of the council. We want to listen to the people of Milton Keynes.

“You can’t please all the people all of the time, but we will guarantee that we will listen and take what they say seriously.”