by Richard Greenwood on 18 April, 2018
By working constructively with others the Milton Keynes Liberal Democrats have a record of success on Milton Keynes council. After the last council elections in 2016, Labour and the Tories each had 22 councillors, with the 13 Lib Dem councillors using their influence to fight for the best for all of the residents across the city of Milton Keynes and the rural areas within the local authority.
To ensure the stability of the council the Liberal Democrats entered a partnership agreement with Labour in 2016 which make sure the council has been able to focus on mitigating Tory austerity cuts while serving the residents of MK. The partnership agreement was not a coalition, instead Lib Dems had early sight of some proposals and more influence when deciding what the council will do, to make sure any council proposals were the best possible for all who live in the MK local authority.
While Liberal Democrat councillors in Milton Keynes are local champions who look after their wards and they will have a range of local successes for their residents, below are a list of the achievements MK Lib Dems have had across Milton Keynes:
The Liberal Democrats have been successful is making tackling homelessness a top priority for MK Council.
We have managed to get the Council to set up the Homelessness Partnership, which has brought together the various charities and agencies dealing with the issue.
The Lib Dems successfully got the Council to accept it had a moral, if not legal obligation, to help so called ‘non-statutory’ homeless. Although the recent Homelessness Reduction Act now places a duty of Councils to help with advice.
The Lib Dems used their influence to get the Council, through the MK Development Partnership, to lease the Old Bus Station to the Winter Night Shelter as their city centre base.
We also protested vigorously when Labour proposed housing homeless families to Kettering, and worked with Labour to prepare plans for temporary housing in MK.
One of the golden threads running through our approach on the Council has been to protect the most vulnerable from the Conservative Government cuts.
Since 2010 the Conservatives have vigorously pursued their manifesto commitment to savage cuts in public services. MK Council alone has had to make around £145m worth of cuts and have reduced staff numbers by 460.
Yet demand is on the increase, especially in adult and children’s social care which now makes up 58% of the Council’s budget spend. We will continue to fight to protect the vulnerable to budget cuts locally, and will the influence of Lib Dem MPs in Westminster to fight to stop the attacks on local councils which should be working for those who need help.
MK Liberal Democrats successfully changed the strategic plan so that any new developments need to have a higher percentage of affordable housing, increasing the percentage from 30% and 31%. We believe that figure should be even higher at 35%, in line with the latest projections of need, but it was the best that could be done due to Tory Government restrictions which seem to favour developers over residents.
More widely, we’ve succeeded in persuading the council to change the rules so that when Milton Keynes Development Partnership land is developed 36% of the homes should be affordable housing, and we persuaded the council to purchase extra homes to be used as much needed council homes as far as central government in Westminster will allow.
To ensure a sustainable future for Milton Keynes and enough homes for our younger residents in the future we played a major role in ensuring Plan:MK will meet our future needs.
The Liberal Democrats got a review of the Council’s pothole policy so that they will now fix clusters of potholes, instead of fixing the one that meets the 50mm intervention criteria and ignore those immediately around it.
The Lib Dems also got £250,000 added to this year’s budget specifically for the repair of residential roads.
The lib Dems are strong supporters of recycling and when they last ran the Council they increased recycling rates FIVE fold from 11% to 55%. That is why the Lib Dems successfully opposed Labour’s plans to charge £33 per year for green bins since it would have reduced recycling rates, and we showed it wouldn’t meet Labour’s aim of saving money after a similar scheme in Camden failed to meet it’s aims.
The Lib Dems supported the introduction of clear recycling sacks as this helps identify contaminated sacks more easily.
The Environment is very important to the Liberal Democrats. Residents have complained to us that the physical environment is looking neglected and areas are starting to look run down, which was part of the reason we successfully opposed Labour’s plans to make cuts to the Graffiti Busters.
Also why last year we got an extra £100,000 in the budget for white lining and this year and extra £100,000 for street sign repairs. We also successfully saved the grit bins, much valued in the recent wintery weather, from proposed cuts.
We have also supported keeping our environmental standards high for new buildings, including energy reductions, water saving, adequate drainage and flood protection, and plenty of well-connected green open spaces.
We have strongly opposed cuts to public transport, protecting some of the vital bus routes which are necessary to many of our residents.
The Liberal Democrats championed an improvement in children’s mental health services and fully support the extra funding in this area.Leave a comment