Recovery plan prioritises green jobs, investment and ‘a place of fairness and reward’

Jul 15, 2020

by ANDREW GIBBS e: news@businessmk.co.uk

A FINANCIAL package worth £3.4 million has been earmarked by Milton Keynes to deliver a framework for how Milton Keynes and its people can recover from the impact of Covid-19.

The plan also aims to protect and generate at least £2 billion of specific and identified investment into the city. The money will fund activity led by the council and its partners to:

  • Transition to a greener economy that prioritises inclusive growth and reduces poverty and inequality;
  • Support businesses and attract inward investment;
  • Retain high levels of employment and reduce unemployment;
  • Provide practical help and support to those in need; 
  • Deliver a financially sustainable council.

The Strategic Recovery Framework for Milton Keynes is due to be considered by the council on Tuesday (July 21).

Council leader Pete Marland said “This is a bold vision for a greener and fairer recovery. We cannot go back to how things were. We must emerge from this national tragedy with a clear vision for the future, to focus on how we will shape and guide our city and renew our founding principles of opportunity, affordability and good health. 

“It is how we restore Milton Keynes as a place of fairness and reward.”

Cllr Pete Marland, leader of Milton Keynes Council

The focus will be on attracting well-paid jobs in green industries in a drive to reduce inequality and increase inclusive growth. The council will seek to invest in establishing Milton Keynes as a centre for green jobs, with a new Mass Transit System at the heart of a new transport infrastructure. 

£500,000 is promised this year to support walking, cycling and other sustainable transport innovation. Other infrastructure projects lined up include £400 million for a city centre university, a £200 million redevelopment of Saxon Court in Central Milton Keynes, a £250 million Women’s and Children’s Hospital and hundreds of new council and genuinely affordable homes.

The Framework details plans for the actions the council would take to control further outbreaks of Covid-19, manage the potentially devastating impact on its finances and support local people and organisations who need extra help.

The Framework will prioritise investment and policy-making towards a green economy and communities, more sustainable transport, and support for those industries and businesses that create green jobs.

It is the largest single economic support package yet to be announced by any council in the UK. The council will spend £1 million on helping businesses, with funding allocated to help people to learn new skills and retrain. 

The council is also funding specific support to help women and young people in employment

Cllr Marland said: “The Covid-19 crisis has changed so much. While people want to get back to normal, it’s clear they don’t want to go back to the broken record of a decade of austerity. We need a recovery that focuses on green jobs while making sure we support people who are in need. Our plan is for greener, stronger communities.

“Our plan is ambitious, but we can deliver it if we all pull in the same direction. It will be challenging and involve some difficult choices, but they are choices that must be made. We can’t go back to how things were. 

“We need to support businesses that pay well and do the right thing for the communities they serve. We need cheaper housing. We need to tackle inequality and rising child poverty. We need to support those most impacted by Covid-19 such as women and young people. Our plan sets out how we can achieve that.”

The next few years will be tough, he warned, but the £2 billion plan aims to turn Milton Keynes into the green centre of investment for the recovery. 

“We have so much going for us as a place and this plan will put us in pole position while also ensuring we come out of this crisis a fairer and more equal place. With this approach we can come back stronger and more united to ensure an ambitious, greener, and fairer Milton Keynes in the future.”

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