‘How Labour could win a Milton Keynes majority for the first time in decades’

Shanika Mahendran

Rishi Sunak may have chickened out of calling an election this May, but we still have the opportunity to create enormous change.

Here in Milton Keynes, Labour stands poised to take majority control of the City Council, the first Labour majority on the local authority in 28 years.

The history of Milton Keynes is entwined with the history of the Labour Party. We’re the most successful of Labour’s postwar new towns. We’re home to the Open University, Labour’s pioneering project to widen participation in higher education.

Not only that, but we serve as a bellwether for Labour’s success. Winning in Milton Keynes on general election night means we are on track to win nationally, and LabourList recently referred to our new Buckingham and Bletchley seat as the most important seat on election night.

In Milton Keynes, we’re showing what Labour can do in power

Without a majority, we’ve already been demonstrating what Labour can do in power. Since 2014, the council has been led by Labour, supported by the Liberal Democrats, with this taking the form of a formal progressive alliance since 2021.

In that time, we’ve established the city as a pioneer in tech and artificial intelligence. We’ve supported tech start-ups and worked to grow a tech ecosystem. We’ve led on smart city technologies through our MK:Smart project, establishing a ‘city as a testbed’ approach where companies come here to test their innovative technologies, leading us to be home to autonomous vehicles, robots delivering food shopping and the UK’s first large-scale e-scooter trial.

We have one of the UK’s largest city economies and have supported hundreds of small businesses. Large businesses like Santander, Network Rail and Red Bull Racing have chosen to find their home here.

We’ve helped residents through the cost-of-living crisis, with food and activities in the school holidays and a pioneering mortgage interest relief scheme for those who are struggling to make their repayments. We’ve stepped in to support an NHS in crisis, building two new GP surgeries and funding three new hospital units.

We have ambitious targets on tackling the climate and nature emergencies, leading the charge for the city to be net zero by 2030. We’ve been ahead of the curve on sustainable planning policies, have installed green roofs on bus stops and created wildflower verges, retrofitted council properties and provided comprehensive support for businesses setting net zero targets.

And we’ve done the essentials well, keeping weekly bin collections when some councils haven’t, increasing recycling by a third by introducing wheelie bins, filling a pothole every 12 minutes and installing thousands of new LED streetlights, which have also cut our carbon emissions. All of which has been done with increased demand on services and reduced funding from the Conservative government.

With a majority on the council, we could achieve even more

With a majority Labour council, we would do even more. Residents in our city are struggling. Our NHS is on its knees, people can’t get a GP appointment, and our hospital has the longest waiting times in the country.

Crime is up, there aren’t enough police on the streets and crimes like theft and shoplifting aren’t being taken seriously. Young families can’t get on the housing ladder, many can’t even afford to rent in the city where they were born. There is raw sewage in our rivers. And our council has faced over £200m of cuts.

We have an ambitious plan for a better future for Milton Keynes. Our vision is for a city where everyone gets to fulfil their potential. We want to support hardworking people, get our economy moving, take back our streets, look after our environment and tackle climate change, build the homes our young people need and make sure we have a well-run council.

Our manifesto sets out this vision. This includes breakfast clubs for schools across the city, building three new health hubs and establishing a safety, theft, ASB and retail crime taskforce (START).

There may not be a chance to elect a new government on Thursday May 2nd, but we can create real, lasting change to people’s lives. Milton Keynes is just 30 minutes on the train from London and well-connected to the rest of the country. Join us on the doorstep, and let’s do it together.

Read more of our coverage of the 2024 local elections here.

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