Focus on MK’s most vulnerable in draft council budget

Monday 26 November 2018

  • ​​​​​​Cuts of £8m to be found in 2019/2020, on top of £144m cut since 2011
  • Extra funding for children in care, tackling homelessness and social care services
  • Despite tough outlook, careful financial management puts MKC in stronger position than neighbouring councils

Milton Keynes Council has set out its draft annual budget for public consultation before it’s finalised in February. 

MKC has made £144m of cuts since 2011, losing more than 10% of its budget every year despite seeing dramatic rises in demand for its 250+ services. 

Because of demand, costs have risen by more than a quarter for council services looking after vulnerable children and adults, which are already the most costly areas to run.

This year’s draft budget includes an extra:

  • £1m to the £20m older people’s care budget.  MKC is supporting more and more over 65s with particularly complex needs, and this has raised average care costs by 25%.
  • £750,000 to support 104 more adults in MK with learning disabilities.
  • £315,000 due to a rise in children needing care or support from the council – expected to be around 100 additional children next year.
  • £700,000 to help 400 additional homeless families, as each year more people approach the council for support.

To balance this and other pressures, MKC plans to save:

  • £500,000 by sharing back office services with other councils.
  • £200,000 from moving staff from two city centre offices into one earlier this year.
  • £270,000 by replacing more of MK’s streetlights with lower energy LEDs.

A council tax rise of 2.99% is proposed, equivalent to an additional £40.11 each year for a band D household.

Since 2011, tough choices have included reducing MK’s play area and landscaping budget by £1.1m (30%), waste budget by £3.5m (13%) and library budget by £1.2m (60%).  MKC has lost 460 members of staff and restructured teams to put a greater focus on frontline services.

Council Leader Pete Marland said:

“Making these cuts has not been easy but it’s meant we can still protect vital services and plan for the future.  If you’re wondering “why doesn’t the council provide unlimited pink sacks like the old days” or “why was the grass verge trimmed once rather than twice last month” - it’s because we’ve had to make cuts.

“However, it’s not through luck that our libraries and children’s centres remain open, or that we’ve kept our weekly bin collections.  Our children’s services and adult social care services are some of the best in the country.  We’ve more than halved rough sleeping and we’re investing in our city centre with projects like a new university. 

“It’s also not luck that while other councils are going bust, MK Council is in a challenging but stable financial position.”

Cabinet will receive the proposals on Tuesday 4 December, and the consultation will be published at www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/budget on 6 December.  Feedback from MK people and organisations will be shared with councillors for them to consider before a final budget is taken to a formal meeting of Full Council in February.