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Milton Keynes Council Labour leader Cllr Pete Marland has welcomed the publication of Labour’s Housing Green paper, called ‘Housing for the Many’

“A decent home is at the heart of our lives. It is where we live, laugh and love. It is where we withdraw when we are ill, and where our children sleep at night. It is the bedrock of our dreams and aspirations.” - (Labour Party Housing Green Paper (April 2018) 

The proposals address the major failure in the housing market in Milton Keynes. Locally we face the following problems:

  • Over 630 families, including over 1000 children in temporary accommodation.
  • A lack of genuine affordable housing.
  • Insecure tenancies leading to homelessness.
  • Many poor performing private landlords.
  • A lack of low cost home ownership.
  • A Government limit on the Councils ability to invest in new homes.

Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of MK Council said: “I welcome the Labour Party’s proposals to address the housing crisis facing the Country and in particular Milton Keynes. I have asked the Council to look at the proposals and to support the measures to increase the supply of affordable housing, address security of tenure and to suspend the Right to Buy that is causing long term problems across Milton Keynes, as private landlords cash in, buying up former Council houses and then letting them at very high rents. ”

The problem of affordable housing needs to be addressed. The Conservatives in 2010 defined ‘affordable housing’ as 80% of market rents. That means they think paying £800-£900 a month is an affordable rent in Milton Keynes. They don’t live in the real World of low wages and tight family budgets.

Cllr Nigel Long, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Housing added, “In Milton Keynes we face an affordability crisis created by Conservative Governments since 2010. In Milton Keynes  we are achieving only 41% of the affordable housing target for new homes. But within that Government definition, many of the 41% are not genuinely affordable. Labour’s Green Paper proposals will allow the introduction of new affordable rents and a scheme, called FirstBuy homes to increase access to low cost home ownership. We have to abandon the Conservative approach to affordability, offer choice and make homes affordable again.” 

Cllr Marland concluded: “Housing supply in Milton Keynes is made difficult by developers land banking, and by Government definitions of affordability. Labour led Milton Keynes Council will build 500 new Council houses by 2022 and we will keep long term tenancies. We will also support secure tenancies for private and Council tenancies. We welcome the Labour Party’s proposals to increase housing investment in new affordable homes, to suspend the Right to Buy and the proposed introduction of a new Decent Homes 2 programme, that would help our regeneration plans.”

Note: Pictured above are Council Leader Pete Marland and Deputy Leader Hannah O’Neill at the opening of the first new Council housing in Milton Keynes in 2015. The first of 200 new properties.  

Housing for the Many

Milton Keynes Council Labour leader Cllr Pete Marland has welcomed the publication of Labour’s Housing Green paper, called ‘Housing for the Many’

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Community campaigner Moriah Priestley and CMK Councillors Pauline Wallis and Paul Williams started an initiative to clean up their community after they received complaints about rubbish piling up in their neighbourhood.

Moriah along with residents from Oldbrook and councillors, gained the support of well known local business and community organisations to mount a litter pick. 

The partners include:

  • McDonald's
  • Milton Keynes Christian Centre
  • Domino’s

Moriah Priestley said, “I was pleased to support residents working to clean up their neighbourhood. It was great to get local business and community organisations involved in the litter pick.”

This view was supported by Business Manager for McDonalds CMK, Ammat Jallow who said this was “A worthwhile cause.”

Moriah Priestley added, “This was echoed by local Pastor James Fokkens from the Milton Keynes Christian Centre in Oldbrook . They are going to be coordinating over 20 different local impact teams, some of  whom will be joining operation deep clean CMK by being part of a CMK wide litter picking Rota - which will cover Oldbrook, CMK, Conniburrow, Bradwell Common.” 

This initiative begins on 28th of April 2018 and will be implemented across Oldbrook, Conniburrow, Bradwell Common and Central Milton Keynes

Moriah Priestley concluded, “I am pleased to be supporting this initiative. Residents tell me of the need for improved cleaning locally. I think this voluntary action to pick up the litter deserves widespread support.

Residents and Local Business Back Community ‘Litter Pick.’

Community campaigner Moriah Priestley and CMK Councillors Pauline Wallis and Paul Williams started an initiative to clean up their community after they received complaints about rubbish piling up in their...

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Election promises by MK Conservatives to use money in council reserves to plug holes in the MK Council budget have been criticised by two independent reports and two respected local government organisations this week.

  • Tory reserves plan attacked by two investigations and two respected local government organisations.
  • Shocking report reveals Tory Northamptonshire County Council spent schools cash on services before collapse – MK Conservatives push for same policy in MK.
  • Libraries, children’s centres and services to vulnerable at risk from Tory plans for MK after being gutted in Northamptonshire after same polices.

A national investigation by the Financial Times has highlighted that over half of all local authorities have overspent their reserves in the past two years and are heading for financial disaster, with the cross party Local Government Association and local government think-tank the LGIU warning councils face a cash-crunch due to the combined effects of Tory Government austerity and the rising costs of funding social care. They warn that using reserves to fund the financial gap is not a viable financial plan. (https://www.ft.com/content/81eedd98-25d7-11e8-b27e-cc62a39d57a0)

At the same time another shocking report into the financial collapse of Conservative-run Northamptonshire County Council has revealed that around £10m of cash collected as contributions from development to build new schools, called S106 funding, was spent on running services instead. Instead of spending the funding on the new schools Northamptonshire decided to spend the cash and borrow to build the schools later. (https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/northamptonshire-county-council-raided-schools-s106-subsidy-to-fix-budget_uk_5ace394ee4b0648767760786)

Northamptonshire collapsed last month and has been taken over by Government appointed inspectors, having had to close nearly all their libraries, children’s centres and slashing support services for vulnerable people.

MK Council has had to cut more than £144m from their budget since 2011 and will need to find around £40m more over the next four years as the Conservative Government cuts even more from local government budgets. Yet far from setting alarm bells ringing, MK Conservatives have been promising they’d do exactly the same as their colleagues in Northamptonshire and use reserves to plug future funding gaps in MK.

Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes Council said: “MK Council has faced £144m of cuts since 2011. Since running the council we’ve had to make some tough choices fighting austerity, but we’ve kept the council in a decent financial position and we’re still delivering services. Labour has not closed a single library, we have kept open every children’s centre and maintained weekly bin collections. We’re investing more in fixing potholes and services such as children’s mental health. Two investigations, two respected local government organisations and one bankrupt council should be sounding the alarm that spending MK Council reserves would lead to financial disaster, but MK Conservatives still think it’s a viable plan.

He continued: “The investigation into how Northamptonshire collapsed has revealed they spent cash collected to build new schools on running services. Here in MK our reserves have been increasing but that is because we have cash in reserves to spend on infrastructure when it is needed, such as £10m on a new GP surgery in Whitehouse, funding for a new hospital cancer centre, money for highways like crossings on the V4, and for repairs to council houses. The reserves will start to fall over the next few years as we build out what we’ve collected them for, but when they are gone, they’re gone. It’s simply dangerous to fund services with reserves.”

He continued: “I think it’s now quite clear that the MK Conservatives would spend money reserved for schools, health centres and infrastructure to plug the gap their national government has created, and they are in denial about cuts. The Northamptonshire plan to spend now, borrow later led to disaster, and the fact it is being advocated here by the Tories is shocking. Their plan would lead MK Council to disaster just like in Northamptonshire, and ultimately its service sand people who will suffer most.”

Independent reports damn MK Conservatives finance plan

Election promises by MK Conservatives to use money in council reserves to plug holes in the MK Council budget have been criticised by two independent reports and two respected local...

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