MKC has a £56m budget funding gap until 2020. It cannot raise its government-capped council tax without a referendum. MKC officers have opened a dialogue with town and parish councils about handing over responsibility for ‘non-statutory services’; potentially by the 2017-2018 financial year. These services in Old Woughton Parish could include street cleaning (currently £4,646 p.a), landscaping (currently £12,410 p.a) and play area maintenance (currently £1,000 p.a). The implication for us would be a likely tripling of the precept and additional administrative burden. City-wide, the loss of efficient central procurement would result in higher costs to parishes and variable quality across the board.
The consultation process is still at an early stage and so far no evidence of Ward Councillor involvement has been detected. However, in the next couple of months we will probably be involved in wider discussions with MKC and other parishes. Your opinion is thus very important to us. You can button-hole your local parish councillor in the street, email anyone of us or give your comments to the Clerk by phone or post. Please don’t leave it too long to let us know your views; this matter is important to us all.