Milton Keynes Budget 2018/19
We’re facing the toughest period of financial challenges in our history. Since 2010 we’ve had to cut over £130m from our budget.
Central Government is cutting our funding, and by 2021 MK Council won’t receive any Government funding for the services we provide to our citizens, a reduction of 34% next year alone.
At the same time demand for services is going up and up, particularly in three main areas: adult social care as we’re looking after an increasing number of older and vulnerable adults, children’s services with more looked after children and children with higher needs, and the increasing problem of homelessness.
Each year it’s harder and harder to find the cuts we need to make to balance the books, and this year is no different. We have to find £14m just to balance the books.
The most basic priority of any council is to ensure a balanced and robust budget, one that tries to deliver the aspirations of local people, but does not try and duck difficult decisions.
We have a clear set of priorities, set out in our Council Plan about the type of city we want to build, putting affordability, opportunity and health at the centre of what we want to do. We want to make sure MK continues to grow, create jobs and develop a more equal society where everyone has the opportunity of a well-paid job, a safe and secure place to call home in a healthy and green place.
We’ll continue to deliver nearly £200m of services in 2018–19 and we want them to be the best services possible. To do this means making difficult choices in tough times.
- Smarter Reducing our cost and overheads, such as developing shared services with other councils to reduce our back-office costs, reducing the number of senior managers, reducing the number of buildings we operate from and reducing spending on contracts such as stationary. As austerity has been happening since 2010 there are fewer and fewer of these savings as time goes on.
- Sustainable Reducing spending and levels of service to match the projected future budget. Re-organising services or stopping services we can no longer afford.
- Different More fundamental change in delivery and financial management, such as our approach to risk around reserves and one off funding. Increasing partnership working, such as working with the CCG and NHS to have a more integrated health and social care service. Working with other local authorities around funding for growth. These are more complex, and take longer to achieve but have significantly higher potential for income and savings. However they more complicated and carry more risk, such as if the Better Care Fund is reduced or changed.
We’ve had to propose a number of very difficult proposals in order to deliver a balanced budget, some of which include:
- Increasing Council Tax by a total of 1.99%
- Opting for a 3% increase in the Social Care Levy on Council Tax
- Reducing funding for graffiti clearance increasing the time it takes to clean some graffiti
We’ve also chosen to prioritise the following areas with extra funding or protection from further cuts:
Action on homelessness and rough sleeping Access to housing is a basic human right. Every citizen in MK should have access to a roof over their head at night. The budget seeks to ensure we are meeting our statutory and moral responsibilities to achieve this.
- Funding for at least 30 emergency beds for rough sleepers
- Expanding the outreach service
- New funding for the One Stop Shop for homeless support services
- More funding for temporary accommodation for homeless families
Essential services you can rely on We’re often judged on the services that people can see the most such as our bin collections, street-sweeping and landscaping. The budget draft recognises this and proposals include:
- Retaining weekly collections for general and recycling, and retaining free weekly green bin collections
- No further cuts to landscaping
- No cuts to litter picking or street sweeping
- Capital investment to replace a backlog of missing or damaged road signs
Prevention first We’re seeking to invest more funding into preventive health and social care services. Working with partners we want to shift spending from expensive reactive services to a long term plan for a healthier MK.
- Extra funding negotiated with the NHS for integrated services
- No cuts to sexual health services
- Funding mental health support training
Other important proposals include:
- No cuts to libraries
- No children’s centre will be closed
- No cuts to public transport funding
- No cuts to charities or voluntary sector organisations
Tell us what you think
- Leave a comment on our consultation page, on Facebook or Twitter
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Talk to us at Christ the Cornerstone Church, Central MK at 6pm on 10 January and 6pm on 24 January (short presentation and Q&A session)
Last Updated: 18 July 2018