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Milton Keynes is in the middle of a national housing crisis. For many people owning their own home is a distant dream, and rents are increasingly unaffordable.

The Government have said that between now and 2050 they’d like to see a million new houses built between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge, and Milton Keynes could grow to a population of at least 500,000.

Milton Keynes Labour Party believes that if Milton Keynes is to deliver extra new homes we must build more genuinely affordable homes, and an ambitious level of council houses for a new generation. We are therefore calling on the Government and our Members of Parliament to “Back us to Build,” and let us create vibrant new communities that are a true legacy to the founding principles of Milton Keynes.

The “Back us to Build” campaign is calling on the Conservative Government and our Conservative MPs to:

  • Back us to Build 37,500 new council houses by 2050
  • Remove all restrictions on MK Council building new council houses
  • Ensure 50% of any extra housing is genuinely affordable

Sign the Back us to Build petition at http://www.mklabour.org.uk/back-us-to-build

Back us to Build

Milton Keynes is in the middle of a national housing crisis. For many people owning their own home is a distant dream, and rents are increasingly unaffordable.

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Milton Keynes Council’s ruling Labour Group has revealed its draft plans for next year’s council budget, with Labour standing up to austerity and against cuts to services.

MK Council has had to cut over £130m from its spending since 2010 having faced stinging cuts from the Conservative Government and rising demand for services such as social care. This year the council is having to find over £14m to balance the books, with government funding for services falling 34% next year compared to this year.

Tough choices in the proposals include a 2% rise in council tax, an extra 3% increase in the council tax levy for social care, and service cuts to the speed at which some graffiti is cleaned.

The draft budget has proposals to:

· Increase spending on services for rough-sleepers, including providing emergency accommodation and expand the outreach service.

· Invest capital funding to reduce the backlog of road and street sign repairs needed.

 

Despite the cuts the Labour administration has also revealed:

· Weekly bin and recycling collections will continue, one of the last large councils in the UK to provide this service.

· No cuts to libraries; not a single MK library has closed under the Labour administration.

· No increase in standard or premium parking charges for the third consecutive year.

· No cuts to landscaping or street sweeping.

· No cuts to funding for public transport.

· Funding for parish councils and the voluntary sector is safe for another year.

· No children centres are to be closed.

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Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of MK Council said:

MK Council is facing the biggest financial challenge it has ever faced, having had to cut £130m from our budget since 2010, and next year we have to find another £14m. The demand for services such as social care is increasing, the cost of protecting our most vulnerable children is increasing, and because of vicious cuts and disastrous government housing policies, we are having to spend more and more each year picking up the pieces on homelessness. Despite that we know the people of MK have no desire to see their services downgraded if any other way is possible, they expect the Labour administration to deliver and stand up to austerity as best we can.

Cllr Rob Middleton, Cabinet Member for Resources and Innovation said:

Years of cuts have left many our services hollowed out and further cuts are sadly inevitable. However, we are a strong and competent Labour administration that has very clear priorities, and while we don’t turn away from tough choices, the budget also shows that by thinking long term, working with partners and fighting for what we believe, we can stand up to austerity and try and minimise the impact on local services of the cuts imposed on us by a Tory Government.

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Cllr Middleton continued:

We are investing in the things we know are important. There is more money in the budget for homelessness because it is the right thing to do, and there is more capital investment in replacing road-signs as we have an enormous backlog that without action will only get worse. I’m also proud we haven’t closed a single library or children’s centre, we haven’t increased parking charges for a third successive year, there are no cuts to public transport and, really importantly, there are no further cuts to things like grass cutting or street cleaning this year, with our bin collections remaining weekly!

Cllr Marland said:

Sound financial management by a Labour administration means we are able to deliver sound budget proposals for consultation. However without a reversal to national cuts, funding for services such as social care, children’s services and homelessness are on the edge of collapse. Just look at neighbouring Conservative councils who are in financial meltdown.

Cllr Marland concluded:

We don’t deny that many of our choices in this budget are a sticking plaster for the terrible pain national cuts are having on people in Milton Keynes, but we are listening and investing in the things that matter to people, like homelessness, while opposing all the cuts we can.

Difficult choices. But more investment in MK Council budget plans

Milton Keynes Council’s ruling Labour Group has revealed its draft plans for next year’s council budget, with Labour standing up to austerity and against cuts to services.

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Labour Councillors are asking why Conservative MP is complaining about his own decision after a letter criticising the boundary commission’s proposals for new parliamentary constituencies was delivered to residents in the Tattenhoe ward.

Conservative MPs, including Iain Stewart the MP for Milton Keynes South have voted for a review of parliamentary boundaries to reduce the number of MPs to 501 in England and equalise the number of voters in each constituency. The rules they set mean that two wards from Milton Keynes must be transferred to Buckingham constituency if the review is implemented. The Boundary Commission, an impartial public body, is now developing proposals that will meet this objective as instructed by the Conservative government.

The commission’s first proposal was revised after a public consultation and the revised proposal is that Tattenhoe and Stony Stratford wards are the ones that move into Buckingham for purposes of electing an MP.

Mr Stewart has now sent a letter, which also promotes his Conservative party councillors for Tattenhoe claiming he opposes the boundary proposals, even though it was him and his party colleagues who have made it happen in the first place.

Parish Cllr Anthony Brown said: "I could not believe it when a concerned local resident showed me the letter in which Iain Stewart MP complains about the boundary review which he voted for in parliament. It's hard to know if this is just the height of hypocrisy or whether Mr Stewart has forgotten what he voted for. I don't know which would be worse"

The original boundary commission proposal suggested Stony Stratford and Wolverton wards would move to the Buckingham constituency. This original proposal was supported by the Conservative party in their official submission to the boundary commission.

Community Campaigner Jenny Marklew, who lives in Stony Startford ward added: "Iain Stewart and the MK Conservatives have given up on Stony Stratford. Their party are on record as supporting our area being moved into Buckingham constituency, yet he is now using his position as MP to claim he wants another part of his current constituency in MK. It's a double insult to the people of Stony Stratford"

The Labour Party has opposed the proposals to reduce the number of MPs and have consistently said so both nationally and locally.

Chair of MK Labour Party Paul Day added: "We oppose the reduction in the number of constituencies. We want to see 3 MPs for Milton Keynes as this city is growing, however while the Conservatives had a majority in parliament they could force through this review and divide Milton Keynes.

Paul Day concluded,

Since the general election things have changed and we are hopeful that the whole review will be stopped by the Labour Party in Westminster. In any case, this letter from Iain Stewart is bizarre and sadly typical of a Conservative MP denying responsibility for his own actions. We have been asked if it was paid for with tax payers' funds, I think that's a question Mr Stewart also needs to answer.

Conservative MP confused about his own decision on New Boundaries

Labour Councillors are asking why Conservative MP is complaining about his own decision after a letter criticising the boundary commission’s proposals for new parliamentary constituencies was delivered to residents in...

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