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Decentralisation (Milton Keynes)

Volume 555: debated on Thursday 13 December 2012

I am pleased to announce the transfer of a package of Homes and Communities Agency functions and assets to Milton Keynes council, expected to take place on 14 January 2013.

The transfer of these functions and assets is a significant step for Milton Keynes council as it gives them, at last, full control over strategic growth and development in their area. It is also important as it means the people of Milton Keynes can now hold the locally accountable body responsible for how they use the land and their functions in this respect.

This transfer includes Milton Keynes council taking full planning control of its area; the disposal at market value of the majority of the Homes and Communities Agency’s different land holdings in the area to the council; and the council taking on management of the Milton Keynes infrastructure tariff. Connected to the tariff transfer, Government have agreed to enter into a jointly shared risk-share arrangement with Milton Keynes council. Further details of this arrangement are set out in a departmental minute which has been laid today.

This transfer is a significant step for both Government and Milton Keynes council as it demonstrates Government’s commitment to devolution of functions to the most appropriate level. It also provides Milton Keynes council with assets and functions that empower them to drive economic growth and promote the area as a great place to invest and work in.

Ultimately, the people of Milton Keynes will benefit from this settlement as it will be them who gain most from increased investment and delivery. Government now look to Milton Keynes council to continue the good work previously undertaken by the Homes and Communities Agency.