Council is £92m in the red

Swindon Advertiser: Wichelstowe cost the council £45m Wichelstowe cost the council £45m

SWINDON Council has racked up nearly £100m worth of external debt in less than 10 years to spend on major projects – and the associated interest payments are cutting into funding for everyday services.

Statistics show that at the end of the March 2012, the authority had external debt totalling £92m, not including the £138m the council borrowed after council tenants rejected an idea to transfer the homes to a new housing association.

About £45m of this was investment in Wichelstowe’s roads and other infrastructure, and about £15m went towards the 850-space public car park being built on the old police station site as part of Union Square.

Some borrowed funds have also gone towards building new schools and improvements to leisure and cultural facilities, such as the new splash park at Coate Water and the renovating of the plant system at the ice rink in the Link Centre.

This debt produces debt charges that sap cash from the pressured revenue budget, which pays for everyday services. Debt management in 2012/13 is expected to cost the council £8.7m.

The Adver reported last week that Swindon Council plans to slash a further 70 posts to help plug an estimated £16m gap in the budget for 2013/14, which has been caused by reduced Government funding and increased demand for services.

Council leader Rod Bluh said the level of borrowing would have to reduce as the financial situation tightened.

He said: “Half of that is Wichelstowe. New schools cost money and we have to build them and therefore we don’t sometimes have the choice because if we haven’t got readily available resources, we sometimes have to borrow.

“It’s becoming an issue because the demand for schools is going up and the money for schools is going down. It’s one of the issues we’ll have to deal with.

“Sometimes you are investing in out of date facilities like the ice rink at the Link Centre.

“They’re income-producing assets and if you don’t maintain them you don’t get the income. Basically it’s to invest in the assets of the town.”

Swindon Council holds a £12m contingency fund to deal with the £1.7m interest repayments it is racking up each year. The cash was a severance payment from Taylor Wimpey to the council, in exchange for the council letting it out of a building contract.

But the £1.7m annual interest from the debt is gradually eating through it and if the market does not improve and the land is not sold off in the next several years to pay off the debt, the council may have to dip into other funds to finance the debt.

Of the £92m external debt, £35m was borrowed on the market and £75.8m is from the Public Works Loan Board, which is normally at a lower interest rate. The council’s long-term borrowing rate is currently 3.36 per cent.

Comments (34)

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9:13am Tue 18 Dec 12

Davidsyrett says...

Why did the developers not have to foot the bill for the Wichelstowe road structure? But even so, wouldn't the extra council Tax raised on the new house owner's cover these costs in the long term?

Surely the Council work out all these figures before hand to make sure, long term, they make a profit on developments, if not Why?
Why did the developers not have to foot the bill for the Wichelstowe road structure? But even so, wouldn't the extra council Tax raised on the new house owner's cover these costs in the long term? Surely the Council work out all these figures before hand to make sure, long term, they make a profit on developments, if not Why? Davidsyrett

9:15am Tue 18 Dec 12

RichardR1 says...

Gross incompetence is evident in everything this council does, and their constant blaming of others is now legendary.
Gross incompetence is evident in everything this council does, and their constant blaming of others is now legendary. RichardR1

9:22am Tue 18 Dec 12

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

So if the developments cost the council tax payer so much money and we have so much debt; why are we chasing new developments as its pretty clear we cannot afford them.

Wasn't section 106 brought in to ensure that developers paid some way towards the necessary infrastructure.
So if the developments cost the council tax payer so much money and we have so much debt; why are we chasing new developments as its pretty clear we cannot afford them. Wasn't section 106 brought in to ensure that developers paid some way towards the necessary infrastructure. LordAshOfTheBrake

9:36am Tue 18 Dec 12

twasadawf says...

Total incompetence £15 million on 850 car park space's that will never be used £45 million on infrastructure that should have come from the builders ,money spent on school places that are not being filled, you couldn't make it up unless you were one of are many useless council management team ,even if they left /resigned they would still get huge payoff's, why do we put up with it, most of these pr======ks have never had a proper job and wouldn't last a minute in the real world
Total incompetence £15 million on 850 car park space's that will never be used £45 million on infrastructure that should have come from the builders ,money spent on school places that are not being filled, you couldn't make it up unless you were one of are many useless council management team ,even if they left /resigned they would still get huge payoff's, why do we put up with it, most of these pr======ks have never had a proper job and wouldn't last a minute in the real world twasadawf

9:38am Tue 18 Dec 12

I 2 Could B says...

This is all a bit silly while SBC remain one of the most land/property rich councils in the entire country.

High time we sold some of that off, reduced debt and interest payments and put it to better use.
This is all a bit silly while SBC remain one of the most land/property rich councils in the entire country. [p] High time we sold some of that off, reduced debt and interest payments and put it to better use. I 2 Could B

9:49am Tue 18 Dec 12

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

@I2CB

Great idea, sell all your one time assets. When they are gone; they are gone.

Even better would be for the council to learn to make money from them.
@I2CB Great idea, sell all your one time assets. When they are gone; they are gone. Even better would be for the council to learn to make money from them. LordAshOfTheBrake

9:51am Tue 18 Dec 12

twasadawf says...

They should tap up the illegal money lender his interest rate's must look quite attractive the SBC
They should tap up the illegal money lender his interest rate's must look quite attractive the SBC twasadawf

10:39am Tue 18 Dec 12

peatmoor pirate says...

RichardR1 wrote:
Gross incompetence is evident in everything this council does, and their constant blaming of others is now legendary.
Perhaps you should stand for Council then; clearly everything would be ok if you were in charge. Goes for a lot on here - and no I have nothing to do with COuncil, just fed up of everyone on here thinking they are god's gift compared to people who actually have to do the job
[quote][p][bold]RichardR1[/bold] wrote: Gross incompetence is evident in everything this council does, and their constant blaming of others is now legendary.[/p][/quote]Perhaps you should stand for Council then; clearly everything would be ok if you were in charge. Goes for a lot on here - and no I have nothing to do with COuncil, just fed up of everyone on here thinking they are god's gift compared to people who actually have to do the job peatmoor pirate

10:44am Tue 18 Dec 12

SimonPrice351 says...

Surely a few heads must roll over this?

Gross incompetency, and the tax payer should withhold payment. If enough of us said no and (to quote Graham Taylor when Crewe were stuffing Aston Villa in a Cup game):

'YOU MORONS GOT US INTO THIS MESS - NOW YOU GET US OUT OF IT!'

Either that or mass resignations, and let's get in people who are financially astute, fair and have at least one brain cell in to run the council.
Surely a few heads must roll over this? Gross incompetency, and the tax payer should withhold payment. If enough of us said no and (to quote Graham Taylor when Crewe were stuffing Aston Villa in a Cup game): 'YOU MORONS GOT US INTO THIS MESS - NOW YOU GET US OUT OF IT!' Either that or mass resignations, and let's get in people who are financially astute, fair and have at least one brain cell in to run the council. SimonPrice351

10:59am Tue 18 Dec 12

I 2 Could B says...

LordAshOfTheBrake wrote:
@I2CB

Great idea, sell all your one time assets. When they are gone; they are gone.

Even better would be for the council to learn to make money from them.
Yes, selling off ALL your one time assets would indeed be a very unwise idea. Which is precisely why that's not what I suggested.
[quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: @I2CB Great idea, sell all your one time assets. When they are gone; they are gone. Even better would be for the council to learn to make money from them.[/p][/quote]Yes, selling off ALL your one time assets would indeed be a very unwise idea. Which is precisely why that's not what I suggested. I 2 Could B

11:00am Tue 18 Dec 12

Al Smith says...

LordAshOfTheBrake wrote:
@I2CB

Great idea, sell all your one time assets. When they are gone; they are gone.

Even better would be for the council to learn to make money from them.
Selling the family silver only provides a temporary fix.

The best example is SBC trying to sell-off the council housing stock for £4,000 per property, when the real values of the properties would be at least 10 times as much (more like 20).

I hear next year's Wyvern panto will be Rodney and the not so giant beanstalk, where the dim-witted central character goes off to market and comes back with an IOU note for several magic beans.
[quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: @I2CB Great idea, sell all your one time assets. When they are gone; they are gone. Even better would be for the council to learn to make money from them.[/p][/quote]Selling the family silver only provides a temporary fix. The best example is SBC trying to sell-off the council housing stock for £4,000 per property, when the real values of the properties would be at least 10 times as much (more like 20). I hear next year's Wyvern panto will be Rodney and the not so giant beanstalk, where the dim-witted central character goes off to market and comes back with an IOU note for several magic beans. Al Smith

11:08am Tue 18 Dec 12

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

I 2 Could B wrote:
LordAshOfTheBrake wrote:
@I2CB

Great idea, sell all your one time assets. When they are gone; they are gone.

Even better would be for the council to learn to make money from them.
Yes, selling off ALL your one time assets would indeed be a very unwise idea. Which is precisely why that's not what I suggested.
You commented that SBC was one of the richest land/property councils in the country and then suggested selling it off!

Your original comment was "This is all a bit silly while SBC remain one of the most land/property rich councils in the entire country.

High time we sold some of that off, reduced debt and interest payments and put it to better use"

What else did you mean by sell that off?
[quote][p][bold]I 2 Could B[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: @I2CB Great idea, sell all your one time assets. When they are gone; they are gone. Even better would be for the council to learn to make money from them.[/p][/quote]Yes, selling off ALL your one time assets would indeed be a very unwise idea. Which is precisely why that's not what I suggested.[/p][/quote]You commented that SBC was one of the richest land/property councils in the country and then suggested selling it off! Your original comment was "This is all a bit silly while SBC remain one of the most land/property rich councils in the entire country. High time we sold some of that off, reduced debt and interest payments and put it to better use" What else did you mean by sell that off? LordAshOfTheBrake

12:52pm Tue 18 Dec 12

Empty Car Park says...

Wichelstowe cost US £45m?
How much will the other 22,000 houses cost us.

It beggars belief that anyone is still trying to defend the indefensible

Swindon Borough Clownschool continuing it's form
Wichelstowe cost US £45m? How much will the other 22,000 houses cost us. It beggars belief that anyone is still trying to defend the indefensible Swindon Borough Clownschool continuing it's form Empty Car Park

1:11pm Tue 18 Dec 12

I_luv_chips_me says...

LordAshOfTheBrake wrote:
I 2 Could B wrote:
LordAshOfTheBrake wrote: @I2CB Great idea, sell all your one time assets. When they are gone; they are gone. Even better would be for the council to learn to make money from them.
Yes, selling off ALL your one time assets would indeed be a very unwise idea. Which is precisely why that's not what I suggested.
You commented that SBC was one of the richest land/property councils in the country and then suggested selling it off! Your original comment was "This is all a bit silly while SBC remain one of the most land/property rich councils in the entire country. High time we sold some of that off, reduced debt and interest payments and put it to better use" What else did you mean by sell that off?
I suspect I 2 Could B meant "High time we sold some of that off" as I 2 Could B said and you quoted.....I think the word "some" means "not all".
[quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]I 2 Could B[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: @I2CB Great idea, sell all your one time assets. When they are gone; they are gone. Even better would be for the council to learn to make money from them.[/p][/quote]Yes, selling off ALL your one time assets would indeed be a very unwise idea. Which is precisely why that's not what I suggested.[/p][/quote]You commented that SBC was one of the richest land/property councils in the country and then suggested selling it off! Your original comment was "This is all a bit silly while SBC remain one of the most land/property rich councils in the entire country. High time we sold some of that off, reduced debt and interest payments and put it to better use" What else did you mean by sell that off?[/p][/quote]I suspect I 2 Could B meant "High time we sold some of that off" as I 2 Could B said and you quoted.....I think the word "some" means "not all". I_luv_chips_me

2:00pm Tue 18 Dec 12

I 2 Could B says...

LordAshOfTheBrake wrote:
I 2 Could B wrote:
LordAshOfTheBrake wrote:
@I2CB

Great idea, sell all your one time assets. When they are gone; they are gone.

Even better would be for the council to learn to make money from them.
Yes, selling off ALL your one time assets would indeed be a very unwise idea. Which is precisely why that's not what I suggested.
You commented that SBC was one of the richest land/property councils in the country and then suggested selling it off!

Your original comment was "This is all a bit silly while SBC remain one of the most land/property rich councils in the entire country.

High time we sold some of that off, reduced debt and interest payments and put it to better use"

What else did you mean by sell that off?
Bizarre, you actually quote my exact words and still weren't able to read them properly:

High time we sold some of that off

'Some', believe it or not, does not mean, 'all'.

If you had any idea how much land/property SBC owns, you would realise just how crazy it is for them to cling on to it whilst paying £8.7m per year in debt management costs.

They could sell off SOME of it and you'd barely notice anything had even been sold.
[quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]I 2 Could B[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: @I2CB Great idea, sell all your one time assets. When they are gone; they are gone. Even better would be for the council to learn to make money from them.[/p][/quote]Yes, selling off ALL your one time assets would indeed be a very unwise idea. Which is precisely why that's not what I suggested.[/p][/quote]You commented that SBC was one of the richest land/property councils in the country and then suggested selling it off! Your original comment was "This is all a bit silly while SBC remain one of the most land/property rich councils in the entire country. High time we sold some of that off, reduced debt and interest payments and put it to better use" What else did you mean by sell that off?[/p][/quote]Bizarre, you actually quote my exact words and still weren't able to read them properly: [quote] High time we sold [b]some[/b] of that off [/quote] 'Some', believe it or not, does not mean, 'all'. [p] If you had any idea how much land/property SBC owns, you would realise just how crazy it is for them to cling on to it whilst paying £8.7m per year in debt management costs. [p] They could sell off SOME of it and you'd barely notice anything had even been sold. I 2 Could B

2:40pm Tue 18 Dec 12

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Selling any of it is still a one time asset lost. Sell some, then a few years later sell some more, a little later some more; eventually its all gone.

National and local governments will never learn to hold on to what they have as once its sold; its gone.

The real key is to learn to live within your means and make the most of what you have.
Selling any of it is still a one time asset lost. Sell some, then a few years later sell some more, a little later some more; eventually its all gone. National and local governments will never learn to hold on to what they have as once its sold; its gone. The real key is to learn to live within your means and make the most of what you have. LordAshOfTheBrake

3:14pm Tue 18 Dec 12

I 2 Could B says...

LordAshOfTheBrake wrote:
Selling any of it is still a one time asset lost. Sell some, then a few years later sell some more, a little later some more; eventually its all gone.

National and local governments will never learn to hold on to what they have as once its sold; its gone.

The real key is to learn to live within your means and make the most of what you have.
Well, yes, if you sell a one time asset, you lose it. Kind of the whole point, really.

If you don't have much in the way of one time assets, it's generally better to hold on to them until you have no other choice.

But, when you have a vast array - and you're paying £8.7m per annum on debt management and £1.3m per annum on interest charges - it's pretty daft to sit their looking at your massive land/property portfolio whilst throwing £10 million a year down the toilet.

And, no, selling SOME of it off to avoid dead money debt payments does NOT then mean you have to keep selling it off in dribs and drabs.

Remember, the land/property that's owned was bought with our money and is owned by us and the £10m pa they're currently throwing away is also all our money.

Personally, I can't see the point of owning 50 cars when you're having to pay interest on debt just to be able to run one of them.
[quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: Selling any of it is still a one time asset lost. Sell some, then a few years later sell some more, a little later some more; eventually its all gone. National and local governments will never learn to hold on to what they have as once its sold; its gone. The real key is to learn to live within your means and make the most of what you have.[/p][/quote]Well, yes, if you sell a one time asset, you lose it. Kind of the whole point, really. [p] If you don't have much in the way of one time assets, it's generally better to hold on to them until you have no other choice. [p] But, when you have a vast array - and you're paying £8.7m per annum on debt management and £1.3m per annum on interest charges - it's pretty daft to sit their looking at your massive land/property portfolio whilst throwing £10 million a year down the toilet. [p] And, no, selling SOME of it off to avoid dead money debt payments does NOT then mean you have to keep selling it off in dribs and drabs. [p] Remember, the land/property that's owned was bought with our money and is owned by us and the £10m pa they're currently throwing away is also all our money. [p] Personally, I can't see the point of owning 50 cars when you're having to pay interest on debt just to be able to run one of them. I 2 Could B

5:46pm Tue 18 Dec 12

villageoldman says...

Front Garden, no one apart from SBC wanted it ,now we tax payers are having to pay for it. They coundn't make Swinetown any uglier, or could they.? Another 22,000 houses on the way.
Front Garden, no one apart from SBC wanted it ,now we tax payers are having to pay for it. They coundn't make Swinetown any uglier, or could they.? Another 22,000 houses on the way. villageoldman

5:55pm Tue 18 Dec 12

The Other one says...

I seem to remember Sir Mike Pitt when he was here getting us out of the poo, advising Swindon Borough Council sell of some assets as Swindon is asset rich. God look at our art collection, How many people in Swindon has actually seen the vast majority of it. It all seems to be on loan or in a basement. We do not even have the facilities to display it. These are assets that we cannot afford or need, get and sell some of it.
I seem to remember Sir Mike Pitt when he was here getting us out of the poo, advising Swindon Borough Council sell of some assets as Swindon is asset rich. God look at our art collection, How many people in Swindon has actually seen the vast majority of it. It all seems to be on loan or in a basement. We do not even have the facilities to display it. These are assets that we cannot afford or need, get and sell some of it. The Other one

7:19pm Tue 18 Dec 12

http://Www.Swindon.Org.UK says...

How many people bother to vote?
Who cares?

That's how Bluhigans work.. when they know there is no one that dares to speak up.

It's how Bollocktics works. and companies know it.
SBC is conned as much as it cons its stakeholders.

Time to rise up, grab your stake and chase the bloodsucking buggers out of office.

Plato - "The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
How many people bother to vote? Who cares? That's how Bluhigans work.. when they know there is no one that dares to speak up. It's how Bollocktics works. and companies know it. SBC is conned as much as it cons its stakeholders. Time to rise up, grab your stake and chase the bloodsucking buggers out of office. Plato - "The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." http://Www.Swindon.Org.UK

8:25pm Tue 18 Dec 12

supersaver says...

How is the £15m car park going to regenerate Swindon.

Are we going to build more offices/shops that will remain empty.

Answers please
How is the £15m car park going to regenerate Swindon. Are we going to build more offices/shops that will remain empty. Answers please supersaver

9:50pm Tue 18 Dec 12

house on the hill says...

This needs to be looked at from all sides, its about balance.

many posters here are right in thier comments. the council are an inneficient wastful organisation that are still trying to run it the same way they did 30 years ago when there were more funds. yes the partners and consultants rip us off on a regular basis, but they let it happen. yes we have many assets, what could be sold to help the town without giving away everything.

The most important thing is that those in control know what they are doing but it appears they dont, so selling assets to raise money would just be a waste as they continue to run such an inefficient business in our name. We somehow need to drag councillors and SBC in general into the 21st century and how a business has to be run especially in a recession. Not holding breath though!!!!!
This needs to be looked at from all sides, its about balance. many posters here are right in thier comments. the council are an inneficient wastful organisation that are still trying to run it the same way they did 30 years ago when there were more funds. yes the partners and consultants rip us off on a regular basis, but they let it happen. yes we have many assets, what could be sold to help the town without giving away everything. The most important thing is that those in control know what they are doing but it appears they dont, so selling assets to raise money would just be a waste as they continue to run such an inefficient business in our name. We somehow need to drag councillors and SBC in general into the 21st century and how a business has to be run especially in a recession. Not holding breath though!!!!! house on the hill

1:07am Wed 19 Dec 12

Empty Car Park says...

Even more details of wasting money here
http://www.talkswind
on.org/index.php/top
ic,9050.msg87812/top
icseen.html#msg87812
Even more details of wasting money here http://www.talkswind on.org/index.php/top ic,9050.msg87812/top icseen.html#msg87812 Empty Car Park

7:43am Wed 19 Dec 12

batch says...

Hold on a minute. How the friggen hell did the Wichelstowe development lose the council £45M.

Somebody has dropped a testicle here and should be held accountable.

Plus there is the question of why the North Swindon section 106 money hasn't been spent where it is gravely needed, for an extension to Thamesdown Drive (£100M costs my arse, fag packet maths). No, no, its mostly gone on planned improvements to the Bruce Street Bridges and other town centre roundabouts.

Yet the population of Swindon keep voting these clowns in. So as a town we must be happy. Right?
Hold on a minute. How the friggen hell did the Wichelstowe development lose the council £45M. Somebody has dropped a testicle here and should be held accountable. Plus there is the question of why the North Swindon section 106 money hasn't been spent where it is gravely needed, for an extension to Thamesdown Drive (£100M costs my arse, fag packet maths). No, no, its mostly gone on planned improvements to the Bruce Street Bridges and other town centre roundabouts. Yet the population of Swindon keep voting these clowns in. So as a town we must be happy. Right? batch

9:23am Wed 19 Dec 12

oneofseven says...

£15 million on a car park with 850 parking spaces which will never be filled means another poorly thought out investment,and the reason it wont be used is that it will be like the moon at night.Due to the fantasticly expensive **** up called the whale bridge regeneration you wont have a chance in hell of getting to it!
£15 million on a car park with 850 parking spaces which will never be filled means another poorly thought out investment,and the reason it wont be used is that it will be like the moon at night.Due to the fantasticly expensive **** up called the whale bridge regeneration you wont have a chance in hell of getting to it! oneofseven

11:03am Wed 19 Dec 12

Al Smith says...

The Other one wrote:
I seem to remember Sir Mike Pitt when he was here getting us out of the poo, advising Swindon Borough Council sell of some assets as Swindon is asset rich. God look at our art collection, How many people in Swindon has actually seen the vast majority of it. It all seems to be on loan or in a basement. We do not even have the facilities to display it. These are assets that we cannot afford or need, get and sell some of it.
Swindon is considered by many to be a cultural dessert and selling the family jewels as well as the silver will make matters even worse. The selling of donated artworks can go down very badly with the people who are potential donors.

As Rodney "the plonker" Bluh admitted on the radio this morning the council went from £6million in credit to £92 million in debt whilst he's been in charge. The best thing for Swindon isn't selling of artworks it's getting rid of the worthless politicians that run this town (and I include Labour councilors here as they've been an ineffectual opposition).
[quote][p][bold]The Other one[/bold] wrote: I seem to remember Sir Mike Pitt when he was here getting us out of the poo, advising Swindon Borough Council sell of some assets as Swindon is asset rich. God look at our art collection, How many people in Swindon has actually seen the vast majority of it. It all seems to be on loan or in a basement. We do not even have the facilities to display it. These are assets that we cannot afford or need, get and sell some of it.[/p][/quote]Swindon is considered by many to be a cultural dessert and selling the family jewels as well as the silver will make matters even worse. The selling of donated artworks can go down very badly with the people who are potential donors. As Rodney "the plonker" Bluh admitted on the radio this morning the council went from £6million in credit to £92 million in debt whilst he's been in charge. The best thing for Swindon isn't selling of artworks it's getting rid of the worthless politicians that run this town (and I include Labour councilors here as they've been an ineffectual opposition). Al Smith

11:50am Wed 19 Dec 12

I 2 Could B says...

batch says...
Yet the population of Swindon keep voting these clowns in. So as a town we must be happy. Right?

The thing is, none of it really directly hits most of the electorate.

I mean, think about it, most people didn't even know the council was £92m in the red until this article - even less would know how much is being spent on debt management.

It's much the same as what happened on a national level from 1997 to 2010. Labour kept spending and borrowing and the majority of the public neither knew nor cared - because it didn't impact on them in a bad way... until now.

In regard to your specific quote above, I think it's fairly obvious that the people of Swindon aren't really voting for the Tories, they would just rather have ANYONE else in control other than the disastrous local Labour group. It's really a question of the lesser of two evils. Had Labour been in control of SBC you can bet your bottom dollar we'd be well over £100m in the red... and have even less to show for it.
[quote]batch says...[p] Yet the population of Swindon keep voting these clowns in. So as a town we must be happy. Right? [/quote] The thing is, none of it really directly hits most of the electorate. [p] I mean, think about it, most people didn't even know the council was £92m in the red until this article - even less would know how much is being spent on debt management. [p] It's much the same as what happened on a national level from 1997 to 2010. Labour kept spending and borrowing and the majority of the public neither knew nor cared - because it didn't impact on them in a bad way... until now. [p] In regard to your specific quote above, I think it's fairly obvious that the people of Swindon aren't really voting for the Tories, they would just rather have ANYONE else in control other than the disastrous local Labour group. It's really a question of the lesser of two evils. Had Labour been in control of SBC you can bet your bottom dollar we'd be well over £100m in the red... and have even less to show for it. I 2 Could B

12:44pm Wed 19 Dec 12

Empty Car Park says...

Yawn
Yawn Empty Car Park

12:50pm Wed 19 Dec 12

StillPav says...

LordAshOfTheBrake wrote:
Selling any of it is still a one time asset lost. Sell some, then a few years later sell some more, a little later some more; eventually its all gone. National and local governments will never learn to hold on to what they have as once its sold; its gone. The real key is to learn to live within your means and make the most of what you have.
Not at all.

The council buys a worthless piece of land cheaply. They invest in infrastructure and developers build houses, the land becomes more valuable. Someone leases the land and builds commercial or industrial units, the land becomes even more valuable. The council sells this extremely valuable land and re-invests the money in some cheap land ripe for development, the cycle continues.

This is why the council should sell some of its highly valuable assets and use that money to fund the purchase of land planned for the Wichelstowe development, rather than borrowing.
[quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: Selling any of it is still a one time asset lost. Sell some, then a few years later sell some more, a little later some more; eventually its all gone. National and local governments will never learn to hold on to what they have as once its sold; its gone. The real key is to learn to live within your means and make the most of what you have.[/p][/quote]Not at all. The council buys a worthless piece of land cheaply. They invest in infrastructure and developers build houses, the land becomes more valuable. Someone leases the land and builds commercial or industrial units, the land becomes even more valuable. The council sells this extremely valuable land and re-invests the money in some cheap land ripe for development, the cycle continues. This is why the council should sell some of its highly valuable assets and use that money to fund the purchase of land planned for the Wichelstowe development, rather than borrowing. StillPav

12:59pm Wed 19 Dec 12

house on the hill says...

I 2 Could B, you are right. For many voting Tory was more an Anti Labour Vote than a Pro Tory one. Add to that that many dont bother to vote (mainly because no one thinks it will make any difference who is in charge anyway), how many actually know what the maifesto of the party they voted for actually says, very few in reality and once voted in they can change it and do what they like anyway.

Sadly poltics is a complete farce and all parties tend to mess it up in one way or another and we just lurch from a Labour crisis to a Tory one and then back again!!!! Maybe we should make them personally responsible for their actions as Councillors and pay Council officers by results rather than a guaranteed salary and pension regardless of their performance, that might wake them all up a bit. they all seem to forget we pay their wages and they have a very large responsibility to give us a first rate value for money service which we are clearly not getting. Selling assets is a quick fix but will cause longer term damage, we need to work our way out of this. If only we had the councillors and managers to do it!!!!!
I 2 Could B, you are right. For many voting Tory was more an Anti Labour Vote than a Pro Tory one. Add to that that many dont bother to vote (mainly because no one thinks it will make any difference who is in charge anyway), how many actually know what the maifesto of the party they voted for actually says, very few in reality and once voted in they can change it and do what they like anyway. Sadly poltics is a complete farce and all parties tend to mess it up in one way or another and we just lurch from a Labour crisis to a Tory one and then back again!!!! Maybe we should make them personally responsible for their actions as Councillors and pay Council officers by results rather than a guaranteed salary and pension regardless of their performance, that might wake them all up a bit. they all seem to forget we pay their wages and they have a very large responsibility to give us a first rate value for money service which we are clearly not getting. Selling assets is a quick fix but will cause longer term damage, we need to work our way out of this. If only we had the councillors and managers to do it!!!!! house on the hill

1:18pm Wed 19 Dec 12

I 2 Could B says...

Empty Car Park wrote:
Yawn
Incisive input, as ever. Honestly, why do you even bother?
[quote][p][bold]Empty Car Park[/bold] wrote: Yawn[/p][/quote]Incisive input, as ever. Honestly, why do you even bother? I 2 Could B

3:04pm Wed 19 Dec 12

Empty Car Park says...

house on the hill wrote:
I 2 Could B, you are right. For many voting Tory was more an Anti Labour Vote than a Pro Tory one. Add to that that many dont bother to vote (mainly because no one thinks it will make any difference who is in charge anyway), how many actually know what the maifesto of the party they voted for actually says, very few in reality and once voted in they can change it and do what they like anyway.

Sadly poltics is a complete farce and all parties tend to mess it up in one way or another and we just lurch from a Labour crisis to a Tory one and then back again!!!! Maybe we should make them personally responsible for their actions as Councillors and pay Council officers by results rather than a guaranteed salary and pension regardless of their performance, that might wake them all up a bit. they all seem to forget we pay their wages and they have a very large responsibility to give us a first rate value for money service which we are clearly not getting. Selling assets is a quick fix but will cause longer term damage, we need to work our way out of this. If only we had the councillors and managers to do it!!!!!
Spot on
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: I 2 Could B, you are right. For many voting Tory was more an Anti Labour Vote than a Pro Tory one. Add to that that many dont bother to vote (mainly because no one thinks it will make any difference who is in charge anyway), how many actually know what the maifesto of the party they voted for actually says, very few in reality and once voted in they can change it and do what they like anyway. Sadly poltics is a complete farce and all parties tend to mess it up in one way or another and we just lurch from a Labour crisis to a Tory one and then back again!!!! Maybe we should make them personally responsible for their actions as Councillors and pay Council officers by results rather than a guaranteed salary and pension regardless of their performance, that might wake them all up a bit. they all seem to forget we pay their wages and they have a very large responsibility to give us a first rate value for money service which we are clearly not getting. Selling assets is a quick fix but will cause longer term damage, we need to work our way out of this. If only we had the councillors and managers to do it!!!!![/p][/quote]Spot on Empty Car Park

5:44pm Wed 19 Dec 12

I 2 Could B says...

Empty Car Park wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
I 2 Could B, you are right. For many voting Tory was more an Anti Labour Vote than a Pro Tory one. Add to that that many dont bother to vote (mainly because no one thinks it will make any difference who is in charge anyway), how many actually know what the maifesto of the party they voted for actually says, very few in reality and once voted in they can change it and do what they like anyway.

Sadly poltics is a complete farce and all parties tend to mess it up in one way or another and we just lurch from a Labour crisis to a Tory one and then back again!!!! Maybe we should make them personally responsible for their actions as Councillors and pay Council officers by results rather than a guaranteed salary and pension regardless of their performance, that might wake them all up a bit. they all seem to forget we pay their wages and they have a very large responsibility to give us a first rate value for money service which we are clearly not getting. Selling assets is a quick fix but will cause longer term damage, we need to work our way out of this. If only we had the councillors and managers to do it!!!!!
Spot on
Nice to see you agreeing with me.

By the way, what does 'Plastic Westminster' mean?
[quote][p][bold]Empty Car Park[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: I 2 Could B, you are right. For many voting Tory was more an Anti Labour Vote than a Pro Tory one. Add to that that many dont bother to vote (mainly because no one thinks it will make any difference who is in charge anyway), how many actually know what the maifesto of the party they voted for actually says, very few in reality and once voted in they can change it and do what they like anyway. Sadly poltics is a complete farce and all parties tend to mess it up in one way or another and we just lurch from a Labour crisis to a Tory one and then back again!!!! Maybe we should make them personally responsible for their actions as Councillors and pay Council officers by results rather than a guaranteed salary and pension regardless of their performance, that might wake them all up a bit. they all seem to forget we pay their wages and they have a very large responsibility to give us a first rate value for money service which we are clearly not getting. Selling assets is a quick fix but will cause longer term damage, we need to work our way out of this. If only we had the councillors and managers to do it!!!!![/p][/quote]Spot on[/p][/quote]Nice to see you agreeing with me. [p] By the way, what does 'Plastic Westminster' mean? I 2 Could B

9:23pm Thu 20 Dec 12

house on the hill says...

"""""Al Smith says...
11:00am Tue 18 Dec

The best example is SBC trying to sell-off the council housing stock for £4,000 per property, when the real values of the properties would be at least 10 times as much (more like 20)."""""

Al this is actually a very common misconception even by a lot of Council tenants. you cannot value social housing the same way you do a freehold property that can be freely sold on the open market. You also cant look at some of the properties in isolation, you have to look at them all, the rent you can receive from them against the cost of maintaining them and providing the services required.
When you can only charge £75 a week for a 3 bed property because rents are controlled by Govt and many of the properties are in need of major overhauls your income is limited. At £4000 a property that gives a cost to "buy" the business is £42million. Housing struggle to maintain and improve the properties on the income they receive now.

If you paid that sort of money for a business what sort of return would you expect from it? At least 10% i would guess you could make half that just putting it in a bank.
You cant value social housing the way you value frehhold properties, or even rented properties.
The deal SBC were offering was actually a good one over the longer and shorter term, but so many tenants either didnt understand that or were taken in by the professional busybodies who "run" the tenant groups and didnt want to lose that self importance they had built up for themselves. That decison was not best for tenants or for the wider community, it was railroaded by the few who had only self interest in mind and the naive and vunerable were misled and not they are saddled with all the debt and with a council who clearly have no idea how to run a value for money business, so that was actually one decision they got right and tenants didnt.
"""""Al Smith says... 11:00am Tue 18 Dec The best example is SBC trying to sell-off the council housing stock for £4,000 per property, when the real values of the properties would be at least 10 times as much (more like 20).""""" Al this is actually a very common misconception even by a lot of Council tenants. you cannot value social housing the same way you do a freehold property that can be freely sold on the open market. You also cant look at some of the properties in isolation, you have to look at them all, the rent you can receive from them against the cost of maintaining them and providing the services required. When you can only charge £75 a week for a 3 bed property because rents are controlled by Govt and many of the properties are in need of major overhauls your income is limited. At £4000 a property that gives a cost to "buy" the business is £42million. Housing struggle to maintain and improve the properties on the income they receive now. If you paid that sort of money for a business what sort of return would you expect from it? At least 10% i would guess you could make half that just putting it in a bank. You cant value social housing the way you value frehhold properties, or even rented properties. The deal SBC were offering was actually a good one over the longer and shorter term, but so many tenants either didnt understand that or were taken in by the professional busybodies who "run" the tenant groups and didnt want to lose that self importance they had built up for themselves. That decison was not best for tenants or for the wider community, it was railroaded by the few who had only self interest in mind and the naive and vunerable were misled and not they are saddled with all the debt and with a council who clearly have no idea how to run a value for money business, so that was actually one decision they got right and tenants didnt. house on the hill

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