Due to cuts and lack of investment in infrastructure the growth model that built Milton Keynes is on the brink of failure after the Government has indicated it will only invest a small amount of funding to the South Midlands (SEMLEP) area, that includes Milton Keynes, in the next round of infrastructure investment due to be announced next week.
Labour Council Leader Pete Marland is stating that unless the Government invests more in Milton Keynes and reverses the cuts to the Council, it is putting the future growth and prosperity of the new city at risk.
Milton Keynes Council has lost almost half of its grant from central Government since 2011, despite the population rising by nearly 20,000 in the same period. The Council has identified a gap of nearly £35m in funding to deliver critical infrastructure such as basic new roads and utilities for existing development sites, and a further £70m for essential infrastructure such as schools and community facilities, rising to nearly £350m on building infrastructure to a similar standard as the rest of Milton Keynes.
This week it has also been revealed that the South Midlands, which includes Milton Keynes as well as local authorities in Northamptonshire, Aylesbury Vale and Bedfordshire, has been allocated as little as £20m in the latest round of Local Growth Fund bids, which would average out at less than £2m per authority.
Cllr Pete Marland commented: “The model that built Milton Keynes is at risk. A double whammy of massive cuts by this Conservative Government and a lack of investment in our growth means the MK model is on the brink of failure if it continues to miss out on the funding we need.“
He continued: “Milton Keynes is built on delivering high quality infrastructure when we build new housing. It means that as we build new properties, we ensure the extra school places and community facilities are built in line with the new housing so that the existing population doesn’t lose out to growth, and the council can deliver the services to everyone.“
He added, “Cuts to the Council despite a huge rise in demand for our services, and this disgraceful settlement on the latest LGF bid shows the Conservative Government at best takes the growth of Milton Keynes for granted, and at worst treats that growth with contempt.“
He concluded: “We have been making the case to Government continually with projects like MK Futures 2050, and with our ambition to deliver more truly affordable homes, that the people of MK have always been ready to shoulder more housing. But the deal has always been investment in our infrastructure to go with that growth. MK Labour calls on the Government to reverse the cuts to MK Council and invest properly in our infrastructure, because the growth that the Conservative Government seems to take for granted can’t happen without proper investment.“