Milton Keynes Budget 2019/20

Updates on this year's budget approval process

Our consultation on this year's draft budget has now closed.  The budget will be taken to Council on 20 February 2019.


The challenge


MK Council has had to make over £144m in cuts since 2011. 

It can be hard to understand why council tax went up by 6% last year, but you are getting less.  That is the reality of austerity.  

Despite the extra income from council tax, we still had to make £15m of cuts.  Austerity is not over, and throughout the next few years we’ll have to find more than £31m more in cuts, including £8m in 2019/20. Making £144m in cuts has not been easy.  Cuts do have consequences, and you can see these every day in our landscaping, our infrastructure, and how quickly we respond to your queries that we are no longer doing what we always did.

  • We’ve had to cut 53% from our play area and landscaping budget
  • Our highways budget has reduced by £3m
  • We’re now spending £1.2m less on libraries each year
  • We’ve lost 460 members of staff
  • Over £3.5m of cuts from our waste budget.

At the same time we need to find extra funds to deal with additional pressures:

  • £1m extra into 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.
  • There are 23,990 more people and 9,000 more homes in MK – all using extra services and generating more waste.

So if you’re wondering “why doesn’t the council provide unlimited pink sacks anymore,” or “why are you cleaning the streets less often,” - it’s because we’ve had to make cuts.

Despite this we’ve managed to set a balanced budget and we continue to deliver more than 250 services. Hard choices have meant we can still protect vital services and plan for the future.

MK Council has protected our many of our services. 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 are 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. However, there are even tougher choices to come, and we need to balance our budget next year and the years to come after that.


Our Council Priorities

A City Of Opportunity We’re investing in making sure that every child, young person and adult in MK has the opportunity to meet their potential.  We’re continuing to invest in the long term through supporting families.  We’re improving schools and working with skills providers to make sure people, whether young or old, are equipped to do and create the jobs of the future, and we are working to ensure we are doing the right things to ensure we attract the right jobs and inward investment.

An Affordable City A good home people can afford is essential to the success of MK. We want to take our destiny and growth into our own hands and build a city in the strongest traditions of MK; affordable, green, one where people can get around easily, and can deliver the infrastructure needed to grow. We want to tackle homelessness and build more affordable housing, provide support to people when they need it. We will also find new ways of delivering good, modern, public services while managing expectations.

A Healthy City We want MK to be a healthy place where people live long, fulfilled lives. We are working with all our partners to deliver more joined up, more effective and more efficient services, which invest in prevention, manage demand and reduce cost while delivering better outcomes for the people of MK.


Priorities for balancing the budget in 2019/20

  • Tackling austerity, balancing the books  Cuts mean we have to make difficult decisions, and putting them off will only lead to more pain and deeper cuts in the future. We will not put the financial stability and services at risk by making short term decisions.
  • Getting the basics right  We’ve had to cut over £7.7m from our public realm services. We know that means MK is starting to look tired, and in some places uncared for so we have found a little bit more for some services in this area despite the cuts.
  • Protecting the most vulnerable  We continue to protect funding to help the most vulnerable, such as tackling homelessness, protecting children and preparing for Universal Credit.
  • Prevention is better than cure  We’ll continue to invest in services that reduce our spending elsewhere and improves lives - such as our children and families practices and our Home First social care service.
  • Capacity to deliver  We want to achieve proposals for a robust, balanced budget for 2019/20 that ensures we have the capacity and time to create and deliver the next generation of service transformation, delivers the priorities of the council and supports all councillors to achieve the savings we need to going forward.


Click to open slides from a presentation given at the January 2019 budget roadshow. (PDF, 2.2MB)


Last Updated: 16 July 2019