Milton Keynes Council announces draft Budget proposals

Friday 11 December 2015

Milton Keynes Council today (Friday 4 Dec) published its budget proposals, aimed at saving just short of £22m for the coming financial year.  The proposals will be received by Cabinet on 14 December, and if approved will be open to public consultation from 15 December – 20 January 2016. 

The Budget proposals include a 3.95% increase in Council Tax, which includes 2% for a precept to contribute to increasing demand pressures on adult social care costs.

 

The budget protects libraries and children’s centres, has no further cuts to the voluntary sector and has measures to build new council houses and tackle homelessness.

Other savings include the widely expected proposals to replace pinks sacks, charges for garden waste, although food waste collection will remain free of charge, and a small reduction in bus subsidies.

However some tough choices are being proposed in the largest spending area, adult social care, with the Council proposing 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. It also plans to make changes to the Day Centre Service, with the council proposing to invest in modernising its facilities and protecting the provision for the most frail and vulnerable citizens but reducing the services for people with lower need where other providers, such as community groups and charities, already provide alternatives.

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.

But ongoing reductions in Government funding, combined with extra financial pressures means the council must find further innovative ways of doing business, whilst providing more than 250 services to the city’s growing population of more than a quarter of a million.

Around £21.7m of savings were identified for the draft budget 2016/17.

Council Leader Pete 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 our priorities, such as tackling homelessness, supporting the 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 make them and how they can influence the final decision.”

The draft budget papers for the 14 December Cabinet meeting can be found in Item 10 at:

 

Cabinet meeting 14/12/2015

Background to the budget, and more details of the consultation including upcoming budget roadshow meetings is available at: www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/2020budget

As well as the public consultation, a  series of Budget Scrutiny meetings will be held before Cabinet makes its final recommendations to full Council in February next year.