2016 Local Manifesto: Making a difference in MK

Milton Keynes is a great place to live, work and visit. We want to ensure that, as we we approach our 50th Anniversary in 2017, we continue to build a place where people can achieve their ambitions in a place of opportunity, that is affordable and healthy.

Standing up for Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes Council is battling severe cuts imposed by the Tory Government, with over £100m being cut from our budget. The Milton Keynes Labour Party opposes the politics of austerity and believes that the Tory Government have made the wrong choice imposing the worst cuts on local communities and local services.

Milton Keynes Council has been Labour-run since 2014. We have been left with little choice but to mitigate the impact of cuts as best we can, standing up for the people of Milton Keynes and making a difference. Since 2014 Labour-run Milton Keynes Council has:

  • Started the biggest Council house building programme in a generation
  • Introduced the REAL Living Wage for all council staff and contractors
  • Ensured a good local school place for every child by starting construction of 7 new schools and expanding 12 more
  • Signed the Ethical Care Charter to ensure good basic levels of care and support for our elderly and vulnerable
  • Kept every library open
  • Not closed any Children's Centres
  • Launched the MK Futures 2050 Commission to allow everyone a say in how the City will grow and develop

Our principles for the future of MK

Milton Keynes Labour Party is ambitious for the future of Milton Keynes. Tory cuts from Central Government make our challenge even harder, but we want to ensure that every person in Milton Keynes has the opportunity to achieve their ambitions. We want a thriving and dynamic city and to build a fair, hardworking and more equal Milton Keynes for all, based on our three Labour Principles for the future of MK:

  • A City of Opportunity, ensuring every person has the chance of a good, well paid job and the skills to do it in a more equal society
  • An Affordable City, making sure every family has a good home to rent or buy at a price they can afford
  • A Healthy City, ensuring lifelong wellbeing for all, in a sustainable environment

Tackling the challenges in a positive way

Milton Keynes has been very successful in our first 50 years and we have been very successful in attracting generations of people to move to Milton Keynes, created thousands of jobs and built a city with high quality infrastructure and green space.

As the City grows and changes we face many challenges. We have a very large population of young people who need schools and services, an increasing elderly population who need support, housing is becoming more and more expensive so hardworking people are struggling to afford a decent home, homelessness is on the rise, and our transport system is reaching capacity.

We also face ongoing attacks on Milton Keynes Council by the Tory Government. We are having our core funding cut by over £100m and by 2020 we won’t receive any direct support at all from central government. It isn’t just direct funding that is reducing. The New Homes Bonus funding we receive for building more houses is being cut and the funding we receive to build new health centres and community facilities is under threat. We are getting less cash to build new schools and support existing schools. We do not believe this is necessary and oppose these cuts.

Milton Keynes has always done things differently and Milton Keynes Labour Party will meet these challenges with a positive set of ideas to improve our City and the services that MK Council delivers.

Tackling the Housing Crisis made in Downing Street

Milton Keynes, like much of the UK, is in the middle of a housing crisis. As house prices and rents rise, wages simply haven’t kept up. Thousands of people in MK are facing an uncertain future.

We want to ensure we build a City where everyone has a good home to rent or buy at a price they can afford.

A Labour-led Council will tackle the housing crisis by:

  • Continuing the biggest Council House building programme in a generation
  • Bringing forward more new and innovative alternatives to costly B&Bs
  • Funding a new single support service to prevent homelessness
  • Supporting a new scheme to assist those in crisis and tackle roughsleeping
  • Using MKDP assets to build more affordable rented housing
  • Ensuring a mix of affordable, social and rent-to-buy housing in Plan:MK
  • Supporting "Homeworld 2020" to showcase new, low cost housing

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Investing in every area of MK

MK Labour wants every part of MK to be prosperous and successful. Sadly some areas need investment and regeneration to ensure that every child, adult and business across the City has an equal chance of success.

A Labour-led Council will prioritise regeneration by:

  • Offering a business rates reduction for businesses that reopen empty properties
  • Continuing the community-led RegenerationMK scheme for priority estates
  • Holding a referendum for residents on each estate before decisions are taken on regeneration plans
  • Ensuring superfast broadband in all growth areas through Plan:MK
  • Working with partners to develop a masterplan for Bletchley Town Centre
  • Ensuring any development of Wolverton Works is in keeping with the historic nature of the town and provides adequate funding for infrastructure

 MK_Labour_Regeneration.jpg

Opportunity for everyone

Milton Keynes is a growing, dynamic City that has a strong history of creating jobs and being a place of work. However there are challenges we need to address. We have a booming population of young people and we need to ensure we don’t miss the potential of the next generation. We need to be prepared for changes that will happen in the economy and ensure that everyone, young or old, has access to the skills and training they need to be successful. We want an MK that thrives by creating our own companies and good local employers.

A Labour-led Council will encourage opportunity and economic growth by:

  • Continuing to build and expand schools to ensure a good local school place for every child
  • Creating a new Co-operative Schools Trust
  • Opposing Selective education
  • Expanding the Neighbourhood Employment Programme to tackle unemployment and worklessness
  • Developing a new Economic Development strategy that focusses on high quality jobs, inward investment and sharing the benefits of growth fairly
  • Working with employers to increase the number of apprenticeships
  • Making the case to Government to establish a University of Milton Keynes
  • Continuing to fund MK:Smart as a showcase of MK innovation

A transport system fit for the future

MK faces significant challenges in the area of transport. Our population increase, the changing nature of our City Centre and our successful economy mean that our roads are rapidly reaching capacity and parking in the City Centre is becoming more of an issue. We understand these issues and believe that in order to tackle them we need to do more than simply build more spaces. That is only part of the solution.

A Labour run MK Council will ensure a transport system fit for the future by:

  • Making no additional cuts to the public transport budget
  • Not increasing parking charges for standard rate spaces for at least two years
  • Building a new bus station in CMK and establishing transport hubs across MK
  • Expanding the reduced fare scheme to include people in education or training
  • Ongoing investment in fixing roads and potholes
  • Continuing investment in innovative transport solutions such as pods and a “super tram” from M1 Junction 14
  • Building a multi-story car park in the right place, at the right time and for the right cost, not saddling the MK taxpayer with debt for short term fixes

 MK_Labour_Transport.jpg

A Healthier MK

Rising demand for services means that our NHS is underfunded and stretched to breaking point. We want to ensure that MK Council works with our partners towards a City that focuses on keeping people well rather than simply treating the symptoms of illness. We also understand that health and happiness is about more than physical wellbeing, so we want to work to create a system that deals with individuals as people rather than problems

A Labour-led MK Council will:

  • Make mental health our number one City-wide health priority
  • Safeguard funding for domestic violence, HIV and sexual health services
  • Prioritise tackling childhood obesity and diabetes
  • Continue to invest in preventative services and early intervention
  • Work with partners across MK, such as the NHS, to create jointly delivered services

Modernising our Adult Care services

Our long term aim is to modernise our Adult Care services to ensure they can meet growing demand by changing the way we spend our funding towards more community based and preventative services. This means putting power into the hands of service users so they can make their own decisions about the services they want. We understand this is a long journey and we will always work with people before we make any changes.

A Labour-led MK Council will:

  • Undertake a Living Independently Review to create community based services to meet the needs of older and disabled people
  • Establish an MKC owned, arm's length Home Care service provider
  • Ensure enough high quality housing for older and disabled people through Plan:MK
  • Make tackling loneliness and social isolation a key priority
  • Continue to modernise our Learning Disability Services with users
  • Support carers and young carers

A great environment

One of the great things about Milton Keynes is our fantastic environment and our beautiful green spaces. However we do have a lot of space to maintain and a reducing amount of funding to be able to achieve this. We need to develop innovative ways to ensure we can continue to look after our public realm. MK is a place of innovation and change when it comes to protecting our environment and acting on climate change and we want to see this continue.

A Labour-led Milton Keynes Council will continue our legacy of a great environment by:

  • Maintaining good quality green space by better management and replacement of poor quality landscaping
  • Improving Station Square as our "City Gateway"
  • Committing to making MK Carbon Neutral by 2050
  • Bringing forward a new strategy that reduces waste and increases recycling
  • Ensuring new developments have adequate green space and high quality play areas
  • Working with communities to develop capacity to improve their own neighbourhoods

Making MK a European Destination City

Milton Keynes is a great place to live, work and visit. We know that and we’d like more people to know it too! Building on the success of the Rugby World Cup and the opportunity of our 50th Anniversary, we want to ensure that we get the message out that MK is still the best place in the UK to raise a family, to start a business, to invest and to visit.

A Labour-led Milton Keynes Council will ensure MK becomes a premier European Destination City by:

  • Supporting the celebration of MK50 with cultural, arts and community based projects
  • Progressing the bid to become European Capital of Culture 2023
  • Creating a thriving, dynamic City Centre with quality buildings
  • Working with partners to upgrade and renew our CMK market
  • Attracting inward investment as a key priority

Communities and Leadership

MK faces some tough choices in the face of cuts from Central Government. We can only hope to meet these challenges if we have good, stable, community leadership, work with our partners and change the way we work. We value all our partners and want to work with them to enable a better Milton Keynes.

A Labour-led MK Council will provide strong community leadership by:

  • Opposing cuts by the Tory Government that damage local services
  • Continuing our Co-operative Council ethos
  • Ensuring no cuts to Parish Council or the Voluntary Sector funding for at least 2 years
  • Establishing a Voluntary & Community Sector Forum to help partnership working
  • Supporting community groups and associations to get things done
  • Proposing MK Council moves to elections every 4 years
  • Working with our neighbouring authorities for a devolution deal that meets MK's needs
  • Continuing our opposition to the planned closure of Great Holm Fire Station

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