£20m added to the town debt

£1m added to the town debt

£1m added to the town debt

First published in News
Last updated
Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @Michael_Benke

SWINDON Council’s level of debt has risen by more than 20 per cent over the past year and by April 1 it is expected to owe the bank £120m.

This is an increase of more than £20m on the same point last year and will see an extra £1m added to the town’s debt charges. This means the council will be paying almost £10m in charges alone, something opponents say is unacceptable.

Council leaders say the money has been spent on vital projects, such as laying the infrastructure for the Wichelstowe development, which will be paid back when the land is sold.

However, the Labour Group says much of the money has been wasted on projects like the Whalebridge Car Park, which they say cost £15m, and believes the £45m borrowed on Wichel-stowe is too much.

Group Leader Coun Jim Grant (Lab, Rodbourne Cheney) said: “While the Conservative controlled council have made cuts to things like children’s centres, roads and bus services, and are now proposing to charge people £40 per year to have their green waste collected, they have racked up huge debts that has resulted in £1m increases in annual debt charges both in this financial year and the next financial year.

“I think Swindon residents will rightly be asking themselves why the Conservative administration has got Swindon Council in a position that they’re increasing their debt charges budget while making unprecedented cuts to important council services that affect us all.

“The answer is that they have taken the decision that they will spend money on things like an unneeded car park in the town centre. At some stage when you make this unnecessary spending your annual debt charges have to go up.

“What worries me is that it is likely that the council’s annual debt charges will go up again in the future and that is something we should be desperately trying to avoid.”

Council Leader David Renard (Con, Haydon Wick) disputes this, saying all the money has been vital for the town’s regrowth and much of it will be recouped.

He said: “Fundamentally we are investing in Swindon and its future. With Wichelstowe we expect to recover all of the money once the development starts to move forward.

“The town centre was in desperate need of a new car park and that is what we have done, with plans to knock down two which are well past their best.

“The car park will lead the way for new office space and bus station so it is a part of bringing Swindon forward.

“If Labour do not want us to invest in Swindon’s future then I think they should come out and say so. Local authorities have very good credit ratings so the cost of debt is much lower.”

Comments (31)

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7:43am Fri 21 Feb 14

swindondad says...

Why does the Headline say £1 million (added to town debt) when the article say £20 million (added to town debt). SORT IT OUT.
Why does the Headline say £1 million (added to town debt) when the article say £20 million (added to town debt). SORT IT OUT. swindondad
  • Score: 3

7:53am Fri 21 Feb 14

Nostim says...

Getting the £400000 Wi-Fi money back would help
Getting the £400000 Wi-Fi money back would help Nostim
  • Score: 3

8:22am Fri 21 Feb 14

ChannelX says...

I'd imagine the town's anti-council Labour supporters will be delighted at this news, after all, don't their leaders, Miliband and Balls, continually tell us we have to spend our way out of debt?

Labour types are always the first to whinge when public spending is cut, so they must be even more delighted by this news.
I'd imagine the town's anti-council Labour supporters will be delighted at this news, after all, don't their leaders, Miliband and Balls, continually tell us we have to spend our way out of debt? Labour types are always the first to whinge when public spending is cut, so they must be even more delighted by this news. ChannelX
  • Score: -10

8:24am Fri 21 Feb 14

Angry Swindon says...

Was we not told this week, the council had hundreds of thoushands surplus this week for one off projects.

How much are the interest payments on this £120million and who exactly are we in debt too??

Great story, but fell short of any real meaningful facts...
Was we not told this week, the council had hundreds of thoushands surplus this week for one off projects. How much are the interest payments on this £120million and who exactly are we in debt too?? Great story, but fell short of any real meaningful facts... Angry Swindon
  • Score: 11

8:32am Fri 21 Feb 14

house on the hill says...

And that doesn't include the £160million odd debt the housing department took on from Govt a couple of years ago they are paying off over 30 years at about £9.5million a year.

An interesting question though as to who the debt is to????
And that doesn't include the £160million odd debt the housing department took on from Govt a couple of years ago they are paying off over 30 years at about £9.5million a year. An interesting question though as to who the debt is to???? house on the hill
  • Score: 4

8:57am Fri 21 Feb 14

stratton man says...

This useless Tory Council will bankrupt Swindon unless they are ejected in the May elections.Cllr Holland who is cabinet member for finance is incompetent and should be replaced by someone with a basic grasp of economics.
This useless Tory Council will bankrupt Swindon unless they are ejected in the May elections.Cllr Holland who is cabinet member for finance is incompetent and should be replaced by someone with a basic grasp of economics. stratton man
  • Score: -1

9:01am Fri 21 Feb 14

StillPav says...

This is a very strange article when you take into account the story from last week.

"Council leader David Renard SWINDON Council is predicting that it will have saved more than £450,000 of taxpayer’s money by the end of the financial year to plough back into one-off schemes."

So the council saved more than £450,000 by borrowing £20m?
This is a very strange article when you take into account the story from last week. "Council leader David Renard SWINDON Council is predicting that it will have saved more than £450,000 of taxpayer’s money by the end of the financial year to plough back into one-off schemes." So the council saved more than £450,000 by borrowing £20m? StillPav
  • Score: 5

9:06am Fri 21 Feb 14

Davey Gravey says...

I suppose the Tories wont be able to blame this one on labour then?
Look at what they have wasted our taxes on. Shameful
I suppose the Tories wont be able to blame this one on labour then? Look at what they have wasted our taxes on. Shameful Davey Gravey
  • Score: 3

9:21am Fri 21 Feb 14

Trend says...

Glad it wasn't just me wondering how the Council managed to have a surplus but be in debt!
Glad it wasn't just me wondering how the Council managed to have a surplus but be in debt! Trend
  • Score: 2

9:30am Fri 21 Feb 14

ChannelX says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
I suppose the Tories wont be able to blame this one on labour then?
Look at what they have wasted our taxes on. Shameful
Couldn't agree more, it's staggering what the council waste our money on, bus lanes and the like.
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: I suppose the Tories wont be able to blame this one on labour then? Look at what they have wasted our taxes on. Shameful[/p][/quote]Couldn't agree more, it's staggering what the council waste our money on, bus lanes and the like. ChannelX
  • Score: 1

9:31am Fri 21 Feb 14

Morsey says...

Plus, since they have gifted away many facilities to private companies and are still trying to offload public assets as well, we will have no collateral left to borrow against. The incoming Labour admin will be left with what appears to be additional and intentional debt!
Plus, since they have gifted away many facilities to private companies and are still trying to offload public assets as well, we will have no collateral left to borrow against. The incoming Labour admin will be left with what appears to be additional and intentional debt! Morsey
  • Score: 1

10:25am Fri 21 Feb 14

swindondad says...

stratton man wrote:
This useless Tory Council will bankrupt Swindon unless they are ejected in the May elections.Cllr Holland who is cabinet member for finance is incompetent and should be replaced by someone with a basic grasp of economics.
Replaced with WHOM and what qualifications or experience will they have that should make us believe they will do better?

I honestly would like some sensible answers.
The Local and European elections are not that far away.
[quote][p][bold]stratton man[/bold] wrote: This useless Tory Council will bankrupt Swindon unless they are ejected in the May elections.Cllr Holland who is cabinet member for finance is incompetent and should be replaced by someone with a basic grasp of economics.[/p][/quote]Replaced with WHOM and what qualifications or experience will they have that should make us believe they will do better? I honestly would like some sensible answers. The Local and European elections are not that far away. swindondad
  • Score: 2

10:46am Fri 21 Feb 14

stratton man says...

Suggest replace Cllr Holland with Cllr Martin.For all his well documented personal shortcomings Cllr Martin has a strong financial background and would make a better fist of the brief than the hapless Holland.
Suggest replace Cllr Holland with Cllr Martin.For all his well documented personal shortcomings Cllr Martin has a strong financial background and would make a better fist of the brief than the hapless Holland. stratton man
  • Score: -1

10:46am Fri 21 Feb 14

Swindon_AOK says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
I suppose the Tories wont be able to blame this one on labour then?
Look at what they have wasted our taxes on. Shameful
You are clueless Sir.

Swindon is in a hole because of decades of under investment through labour controlled councils over the years.

Labour know full well that the car park was an agreed pre-requisite for the Kimmerfields regeneration project. Without that car park being built, Amec would pull out of the scheme and Swindon would not get a new office quarter, bus station, regenerated fleming way and all the benefits that this will provide.

Wichelstowe is a bit more tricky; the concept happens all the time but the mistake they have made is allowing the site to degrade downmarket and not holding the developers to account. But it is hardly a new concept.

All you naive Swindon labour harpies wake up and smell the coffee. Swindon needs investment and without a white knight to pump in millions, this falls to the tax payer or nothing will happen.

Same problem befell Forward Swindon - most of the funding had to come from the public purse as no private regeneration specialist will touch Swindon in its current state, without a big incentive.

Swindon missed out on the last boom and got whacked by the bust. Do you want Swindon to miss out on the next boom and be left by the wayside?
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: I suppose the Tories wont be able to blame this one on labour then? Look at what they have wasted our taxes on. Shameful[/p][/quote]You are clueless Sir. Swindon is in a hole because of decades of under investment through labour controlled councils over the years. Labour know full well that the car park was an agreed pre-requisite for the Kimmerfields regeneration project. Without that car park being built, Amec would pull out of the scheme and Swindon would not get a new office quarter, bus station, regenerated fleming way and all the benefits that this will provide. Wichelstowe is a bit more tricky; the concept happens all the time but the mistake they have made is allowing the site to degrade downmarket and not holding the developers to account. But it is hardly a new concept. All you naive Swindon labour harpies wake up and smell the coffee. Swindon needs investment and without a white knight to pump in millions, this falls to the tax payer or nothing will happen. Same problem befell Forward Swindon - most of the funding had to come from the public purse as no private regeneration specialist will touch Swindon in its current state, without a big incentive. Swindon missed out on the last boom and got whacked by the bust. Do you want Swindon to miss out on the next boom and be left by the wayside? Swindon_AOK
  • Score: 2

11:10am Fri 21 Feb 14

swindondad says...

stratton man wrote:
Suggest replace Cllr Holland with Cllr Martin.For all his well documented personal shortcomings Cllr Martin has a strong financial background and would make a better fist of the brief than the hapless Holland.
As both the alternatives you give are of Conservative councilors who sit in different wards how can the electorate effect this at the ballot box?

As far as I am aware only the members of the local Conservative party have a say in which of its councilor are put forward for each role.
[quote][p][bold]stratton man[/bold] wrote: Suggest replace Cllr Holland with Cllr Martin.For all his well documented personal shortcomings Cllr Martin has a strong financial background and would make a better fist of the brief than the hapless Holland.[/p][/quote]As both the alternatives you give are of Conservative councilors who sit in different wards how can the electorate effect this at the ballot box? As far as I am aware only the members of the local Conservative party have a say in which of its councilor are put forward for each role. swindondad
  • Score: 0

12:30pm Fri 21 Feb 14

trolley dolley says...

How many accountants or businessmen are there in the Labour Group.

Does anyone really think that they have people who can understand and manage large budgets effectively. It is my guess they will be totally reliant on their officers.

It is easy for them to shout about what should be done without having the faintest idea of how pay for it.

If they get back into control we will see very quickly how bad things can get.
How many accountants or businessmen are there in the Labour Group. Does anyone really think that they have people who can understand and manage large budgets effectively. It is my guess they will be totally reliant on their officers. It is easy for them to shout about what should be done without having the faintest idea of how pay for it. If they get back into control we will see very quickly how bad things can get. trolley dolley
  • Score: 6

1:04pm Fri 21 Feb 14

swindondad says...

I know that many of us like to run down our councilors but given the hours that they put in compared to the financial rewards they get I am surprised that we get as many people standing as we do.

I would think there are a few reasons for standing for local elections.

Hoping for a political career,

Wanting to give something back / improve things,

To boost Ego.

For the bit of extra money.

As those who have the training and experience to successfully run large budgets would most likely not need the money from a council position that is one less motivation for people of that caliber to stand.
I know that many of us like to run down our councilors but given the hours that they put in compared to the financial rewards they get I am surprised that we get as many people standing as we do. I would think there are a few reasons for standing for local elections. Hoping for a political career, Wanting to give something back / improve things, To boost Ego. For the bit of extra money. As those who have the training and experience to successfully run large budgets would most likely not need the money from a council position that is one less motivation for people of that caliber to stand. swindondad
  • Score: 1

1:28pm Fri 21 Feb 14

candid friend says...

How much of this has been wasted on other WI-Fi schemes that have been concealed from the ratepayers of Swindon?
How much of this has been wasted on other WI-Fi schemes that have been concealed from the ratepayers of Swindon? candid friend
  • Score: 4

1:50pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Ph1lxx says...

What about the £360K Rod Bluh spent on the Tabernacle stones - that are still lying in storage?
What about the £360K Rod Bluh spent on the Tabernacle stones - that are still lying in storage? Ph1lxx
  • Score: 4

3:39pm Fri 21 Feb 14

twasadawf says...

Nice new car park, which wasn't needed me thinks and what about the section 106 money that they are supposed to raise from new house builds but haven't bothered to demand from builders
Nice new car park, which wasn't needed me thinks and what about the section 106 money that they are supposed to raise from new house builds but haven't bothered to demand from builders twasadawf
  • Score: 5

3:44pm Fri 21 Feb 14

villageoldman says...

The Front Garden , going forward! What year will this be and who is going to buy a property when better ones (location location ) are going to be built.
The Front Garden , going forward! What year will this be and who is going to buy a property when better ones (location location ) are going to be built. villageoldman
  • Score: 2

4:28pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Davey Gravey says...

Swindon_AOK wrote:
Davey Gravey wrote:
I suppose the Tories wont be able to blame this one on labour then?
Look at what they have wasted our taxes on. Shameful
You are clueless Sir.

Swindon is in a hole because of decades of under investment through labour controlled councils over the years.

Labour know full well that the car park was an agreed pre-requisite for the Kimmerfields regeneration project. Without that car park being built, Amec would pull out of the scheme and Swindon would not get a new office quarter, bus station, regenerated fleming way and all the benefits that this will provide.

Wichelstowe is a bit more tricky; the concept happens all the time but the mistake they have made is allowing the site to degrade downmarket and not holding the developers to account. But it is hardly a new concept.

All you naive Swindon labour harpies wake up and smell the coffee. Swindon needs investment and without a white knight to pump in millions, this falls to the tax payer or nothing will happen.

Same problem befell Forward Swindon - most of the funding had to come from the public purse as no private regeneration specialist will touch Swindon in its current state, without a big incentive.

Swindon missed out on the last boom and got whacked by the bust. Do you want Swindon to miss out on the next boom and be left by the wayside?
Wi-fi. 400,000k wasn't it?
How much on the car park for a town centre nobody wants to go to?
[quote][p][bold]Swindon_AOK[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: I suppose the Tories wont be able to blame this one on labour then? Look at what they have wasted our taxes on. Shameful[/p][/quote]You are clueless Sir. Swindon is in a hole because of decades of under investment through labour controlled councils over the years. Labour know full well that the car park was an agreed pre-requisite for the Kimmerfields regeneration project. Without that car park being built, Amec would pull out of the scheme and Swindon would not get a new office quarter, bus station, regenerated fleming way and all the benefits that this will provide. Wichelstowe is a bit more tricky; the concept happens all the time but the mistake they have made is allowing the site to degrade downmarket and not holding the developers to account. But it is hardly a new concept. All you naive Swindon labour harpies wake up and smell the coffee. Swindon needs investment and without a white knight to pump in millions, this falls to the tax payer or nothing will happen. Same problem befell Forward Swindon - most of the funding had to come from the public purse as no private regeneration specialist will touch Swindon in its current state, without a big incentive. Swindon missed out on the last boom and got whacked by the bust. Do you want Swindon to miss out on the next boom and be left by the wayside?[/p][/quote]Wi-fi. 400,000k wasn't it? How much on the car park for a town centre nobody wants to go to? Davey Gravey
  • Score: 0

4:42pm Fri 21 Feb 14

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

swindondad wrote:
I know that many of us like to run down our councilors but given the hours that they put in compared to the financial rewards they get I am surprised that we get as many people standing as we do.

I would think there are a few reasons for standing for local elections.

Hoping for a political career,

Wanting to give something back / improve things,

To boost Ego.

For the bit of extra money.

As those who have the training and experience to successfully run large budgets would most likely not need the money from a council position that is one less motivation for people of that caliber to stand.
And what about some of the other more "sinister" reasons like some of the "unofficial" kickbacks or tip of the hats to others on certain things that may or may not be going on. Look at some of the relationships involved. Some of them seem a bit "cosy". Of course it could all be legit.

Like you say some of them do put in a lot of hours, so you have to wonder how they afford (time and money) to do it especially when they have families.
[quote][p][bold]swindondad[/bold] wrote: I know that many of us like to run down our councilors but given the hours that they put in compared to the financial rewards they get I am surprised that we get as many people standing as we do. I would think there are a few reasons for standing for local elections. Hoping for a political career, Wanting to give something back / improve things, To boost Ego. For the bit of extra money. As those who have the training and experience to successfully run large budgets would most likely not need the money from a council position that is one less motivation for people of that caliber to stand.[/p][/quote]And what about some of the other more "sinister" reasons like some of the "unofficial" kickbacks or tip of the hats to others on certain things that may or may not be going on. Look at some of the relationships involved. Some of them seem a bit "cosy". Of course it could all be legit. Like you say some of them do put in a lot of hours, so you have to wonder how they afford (time and money) to do it especially when they have families. LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: -1

7:21pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Clippies says...

David Renard claims that charging households to collect their Green Waste will save the council £635,000. However, on figures supplied by him and Cllr Richard Hurley, it will cost the tax payer a minimum £350,000 and save nothing. Figures supplied show costs as follows:
12,000 bins £269,000
624,000 bags ...no cost supplied
New vehicles £531,000
10% extra landfill charge £147,000
Running Costs per year £138,000
Grand total £1,085,000
David Renard confirmed that they expect just 20% of households (18,000) to sign up for this scheme bringing in £720,000. This leaves a shortfall of £350,000.
Currently the cost of supplying the service is quoted as being £758,000 and a 20% take up by the electorate will reduce running costs to £138,000. Quite how the council can reduce costs by some 82% when ultimately the collection rounds are virtually the same size, but with fewer stops is beyond me, as fuel costs, labour costs, vehicle maintenance cost, office space cost are all going to be very similar to last year.
Cllr. Hurley goes on to complain that he doesn't have the time to give his full attention to his role as Cabinet member for Public Protection, Housing and StreetSmart (Delivery) as he , like many others have full time times on top of their ward work. He goes on to say that those with no gardens were subsidising a minority of people who were generating ten or more bags of green waste a fortnight, which was unaffordable and unsustainable. What he failed to mention is the minority were most probably living in very large houses and paying the highest amount of council tax. Also, this is in contrast to the Governments view of those not needing flood protection insurance having to subsidise all of those who do to the tune of £10.75 every year.
David Renard claims that charging households to collect their Green Waste will save the council £635,000. However, on figures supplied by him and Cllr Richard Hurley, it will cost the tax payer a minimum £350,000 and save nothing. Figures supplied show costs as follows: 12,000 bins £269,000 624,000 bags ...no cost supplied New vehicles £531,000 10% extra landfill charge £147,000 Running Costs per year £138,000 Grand total £1,085,000 David Renard confirmed that they expect just 20% of households (18,000) to sign up for this scheme bringing in £720,000. This leaves a shortfall of £350,000. Currently the cost of supplying the service is quoted as being £758,000 and a 20% take up by the electorate will reduce running costs to £138,000. Quite how the council can reduce costs by some 82% when ultimately the collection rounds are virtually the same size, but with fewer stops is beyond me, as fuel costs, labour costs, vehicle maintenance cost, office space cost are all going to be very similar to last year. Cllr. Hurley goes on to complain that he doesn't have the time to give his full attention to his role as Cabinet member for Public Protection, Housing and StreetSmart (Delivery) as he , like many others have full time times on top of their ward work. He goes on to say that those with no gardens were subsidising a minority of people who were generating ten or more bags of green waste a fortnight, which was unaffordable and unsustainable. What he failed to mention is the minority were most probably living in very large houses and paying the highest amount of council tax. Also, this is in contrast to the Governments view of those not needing flood protection insurance having to subsidise all of those who do to the tune of £10.75 every year. Clippies
  • Score: 2

9:56pm Fri 21 Feb 14

faatmaan says...

Again the problem we are faced with is have elected non professional incompetents or professionally trained staff who do not answer to their electorate, it is a no win scenario that needs to be rectified with a different approach to public finance management and a clearer definition of elected councillors responsibilities if they do not reach a certain predetermined level of competency in the area they are assigned to.
Again the problem we are faced with is have elected non professional incompetents or professionally trained staff who do not answer to their electorate, it is a no win scenario that needs to be rectified with a different approach to public finance management and a clearer definition of elected councillors responsibilities if they do not reach a certain predetermined level of competency in the area they are assigned to. faatmaan
  • Score: 1

10:49pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Richard Symonds says...

If Councilor Hurley does not have the time to devote to his position then the Council Tax Paying Public of Swindon cannot afford his special allowance of £10,000 pa to do that job. Step aside Councillor and let someone else do the job then!

As for Kimmerfields attendees of Cabinet and Scrutiny know that the Council is acquiring parcels of land for the development of Union Square. How much will all this cost and who will end up paying the bill?
If Councilor Hurley does not have the time to devote to his position then the Council Tax Paying Public of Swindon cannot afford his special allowance of £10,000 pa to do that job. Step aside Councillor and let someone else do the job then! As for Kimmerfields attendees of Cabinet and Scrutiny know that the Council is acquiring parcels of land for the development of Union Square. How much will all this cost and who will end up paying the bill? Richard Symonds
  • Score: 0

6:24pm Sat 22 Feb 14

trolley dolley says...

So Mr Symonds being a councillor is a job.

Are you still interested then.?

It means getting up and working every day.
So Mr Symonds being a councillor is a job. Are you still interested then.? It means getting up and working every day. trolley dolley
  • Score: 0

9:30pm Sat 22 Feb 14

Russell Holland says...

The Council has a revenue budget and a capital budget.

The Council gets income primarily from Government grants and Council tax.

Of the income we receive most money is spent on statutory services which is predominantly spent on adults and children with social care needs.

Yes the Council has invested in Swindon and yes it has borrowed to invest. We have built several new schools and other facilities such as the Pinetrees community centre and yes that borrowing has a cost.

When Labour ran the Council the services were run so badly that a Labour Central Government took away education and social care services from the Council. Labour also did double digit Council tax rises.

What is the point of having lots of money in the bank when your central library is in a mobile hut, your schools very badly outdated and your services are among the worst in the entire country?

The Council has consistently improved in these service areas and Council tax increases have been lower and recently have been completely frozen.

Around £140million of the Council's debt is debt arising out of the self financing system of Council housing which is why we had the housing ballot. Labour voted against giving tenants a vote at all and actively campaigned to keep Council houses under Council control despite the debt. So when it comes to housing they think it is worth having debt just to keep housing under Council control, but borrowing to invest in Swindon is wrong?

The reality is that the public sector as a whole has to learn to live within its means and that means making difficult decisions about how much we can spend on services which means looking at changing the ways that we provide them.

Nationally from 1997-2001 Labour stuck to the Conservative Government spending plans from 2001 onwards they simply spent too much and Ed Balls is unapologetic about the national debt and the national deficit.

Swindon Labour locally have placed most of their emphasis on criticising the difficult decisions that have to be made locally as part of the public sector learning to live within its means rather than setting out their vision.

I am Swindon born and bred and I am proud of the town. Most people here basically want to raise their families, keep their homes looking nice, work and give something back to their communities. I stand by the Conservative record of investment in the town which speaks for itself, the Central Library, the old college site is progressing, we have the UTC, new schools, the investment in the Oasis and the new RDF plant is also saving money.

Why be a Councillor? Because if you care about your town and are willing to listen to people and try to make things better, then despite all the inevitable criticism that comes from being in politics, you do have the chance to help individual people solve problems and help to make policies and decisions which benefit the town as a whole.

Party politics often misses the point that over the last few years virtually all of the budget is agreed by all political parties - there are just a few headline grabbing amendments. Also many of the key policies are also agreed cross party.
The Council has a revenue budget and a capital budget. The Council gets income primarily from Government grants and Council tax. Of the income we receive most money is spent on statutory services which is predominantly spent on adults and children with social care needs. Yes the Council has invested in Swindon and yes it has borrowed to invest. We have built several new schools and other facilities such as the Pinetrees community centre and yes that borrowing has a cost. When Labour ran the Council the services were run so badly that a Labour Central Government took away education and social care services from the Council. Labour also did double digit Council tax rises. What is the point of having lots of money in the bank when your central library is in a mobile hut, your schools very badly outdated and your services are among the worst in the entire country? The Council has consistently improved in these service areas and Council tax increases have been lower and recently have been completely frozen. Around £140million of the Council's debt is debt arising out of the self financing system of Council housing which is why we had the housing ballot. Labour voted against giving tenants a vote at all and actively campaigned to keep Council houses under Council control despite the debt. So when it comes to housing they think it is worth having debt just to keep housing under Council control, but borrowing to invest in Swindon is wrong? The reality is that the public sector as a whole has to learn to live within its means and that means making difficult decisions about how much we can spend on services which means looking at changing the ways that we provide them. Nationally from 1997-2001 Labour stuck to the Conservative Government spending plans from 2001 onwards they simply spent too much and Ed Balls is unapologetic about the national debt and the national deficit. Swindon Labour locally have placed most of their emphasis on criticising the difficult decisions that have to be made locally as part of the public sector learning to live within its means rather than setting out their vision. I am Swindon born and bred and I am proud of the town. Most people here basically want to raise their families, keep their homes looking nice, work and give something back to their communities. I stand by the Conservative record of investment in the town which speaks for itself, the Central Library, the old college site is progressing, we have the UTC, new schools, the investment in the Oasis and the new RDF plant is also saving money. Why be a Councillor? Because if you care about your town and are willing to listen to people and try to make things better, then despite all the inevitable criticism that comes from being in politics, you do have the chance to help individual people solve problems and help to make policies and decisions which benefit the town as a whole. Party politics often misses the point that over the last few years virtually all of the budget is agreed by all political parties - there are just a few headline grabbing amendments. Also many of the key policies are also agreed cross party. Russell Holland
  • Score: -2

6:26pm Sun 23 Feb 14

wa231 says...

Swindon_AOK wrote:
Davey Gravey wrote:
I suppose the Tories wont be able to blame this one on labour then?
Look at what they have wasted our taxes on. Shameful
You are clueless Sir.

Swindon is in a hole because of decades of under investment through labour controlled councils over the years.

Labour know full well that the car park was an agreed pre-requisite for the Kimmerfields regeneration project. Without that car park being built, Amec would pull out of the scheme and Swindon would not get a new office quarter, bus station, regenerated fleming way and all the benefits that this will provide.

Wichelstowe is a bit more tricky; the concept happens all the time but the mistake they have made is allowing the site to degrade downmarket and not holding the developers to account. But it is hardly a new concept.

All you naive Swindon labour harpies wake up and smell the coffee. Swindon needs investment and without a white knight to pump in millions, this falls to the tax payer or nothing will happen.

Same problem befell Forward Swindon - most of the funding had to come from the public purse as no private regeneration specialist will touch Swindon in its current state, without a big incentive.

Swindon missed out on the last boom and got whacked by the bust. Do you want Swindon to miss out on the next boom and be left by the wayside?
Wishful thinking. Pre requisite assumes this was when it was actually Union Square - they can't even hold the developer to the name, let alone undertaking the works.

Item 22, Cabinet June 26:

Joint report concerning Kimmerfields and Financial Implications for the Council. The actual details are redacted to protect commercial confidentiality.

But as you can see the council are paying, and the developer is doing very little. Cost nationalised, risk nationalised, debt nationalised, profit privatised. Usual story from this council.
------------------

Minutes:

Councillor Des Moffatt, Rodbourne Cheney Ward Councillor expressed his concern regarding the future funding of this project and the impact on service provision in other areas as a result of this long term commitment.

Councillor Junab Ali, Central Ward Councillor, expressed his concerns regarding the financial implications for the Council and queried what input the Development Partner had brought to the project considering the Council’s financial investment to date. Paddy Bradley, Head of Commissioning, Economy / Attainment, explained the process being undertaken by the Development Partner was primarily project management and securing customer take-up on the new properties built.

(3) That, capital expenditure, as detailed in Section 5 of this report, by the Council towards the cost of the construction of a new bus station (within the Kimmerfields development) be approved.
-----------
[quote][p][bold]Swindon_AOK[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: I suppose the Tories wont be able to blame this one on labour then? Look at what they have wasted our taxes on. Shameful[/p][/quote]You are clueless Sir. Swindon is in a hole because of decades of under investment through labour controlled councils over the years. Labour know full well that the car park was an agreed pre-requisite for the Kimmerfields regeneration project. Without that car park being built, Amec would pull out of the scheme and Swindon would not get a new office quarter, bus station, regenerated fleming way and all the benefits that this will provide. Wichelstowe is a bit more tricky; the concept happens all the time but the mistake they have made is allowing the site to degrade downmarket and not holding the developers to account. But it is hardly a new concept. All you naive Swindon labour harpies wake up and smell the coffee. Swindon needs investment and without a white knight to pump in millions, this falls to the tax payer or nothing will happen. Same problem befell Forward Swindon - most of the funding had to come from the public purse as no private regeneration specialist will touch Swindon in its current state, without a big incentive. Swindon missed out on the last boom and got whacked by the bust. Do you want Swindon to miss out on the next boom and be left by the wayside?[/p][/quote]Wishful thinking. Pre requisite assumes this was when it was actually Union Square - they can't even hold the developer to the name, let alone undertaking the works. Item 22, Cabinet June 26: Joint report concerning Kimmerfields and Financial Implications for the Council. The actual details are redacted to protect commercial confidentiality. But as you can see the council are paying, and the developer is doing very little. Cost nationalised, risk nationalised, debt nationalised, profit privatised. Usual story from this council. ------------------ Minutes: Councillor Des Moffatt, Rodbourne Cheney Ward Councillor expressed his concern regarding the future funding of this project and the impact on service provision in other areas as a result of this long term commitment. Councillor Junab Ali, Central Ward Councillor, expressed his concerns regarding the financial implications for the Council and queried what input the Development Partner had brought to the project considering the Council’s financial investment to date. Paddy Bradley, Head of Commissioning, Economy / Attainment, explained the process being undertaken by the Development Partner was primarily project management and securing customer take-up on the new properties built. (3) That, capital expenditure, as detailed in Section 5 of this report, by the Council towards the cost of the construction of a new bus station (within the Kimmerfields development) be approved. ----------- wa231
  • Score: 0

6:47pm Sun 23 Feb 14

wa231 says...

Russell Holland wrote:
The Council has a revenue budget and a capital budget.

The Council gets income primarily from Government grants and Council tax.

Of the income we receive most money is spent on statutory services which is predominantly spent on adults and children with social care needs.

Yes the Council has invested in Swindon and yes it has borrowed to invest. We have built several new schools and other facilities such as the Pinetrees community centre and yes that borrowing has a cost.

When Labour ran the Council the services were run so badly that a Labour Central Government took away education and social care services from the Council. Labour also did double digit Council tax rises.

What is the point of having lots of money in the bank when your central library is in a mobile hut, your schools very badly outdated and your services are among the worst in the entire country?

The Council has consistently improved in these service areas and Council tax increases have been lower and recently have been completely frozen.

Around £140million of the Council's debt is debt arising out of the self financing system of Council housing which is why we had the housing ballot. Labour voted against giving tenants a vote at all and actively campaigned to keep Council houses under Council control despite the debt. So when it comes to housing they think it is worth having debt just to keep housing under Council control, but borrowing to invest in Swindon is wrong?

The reality is that the public sector as a whole has to learn to live within its means and that means making difficult decisions about how much we can spend on services which means looking at changing the ways that we provide them.

Nationally from 1997-2001 Labour stuck to the Conservative Government spending plans from 2001 onwards they simply spent too much and Ed Balls is unapologetic about the national debt and the national deficit.

Swindon Labour locally have placed most of their emphasis on criticising the difficult decisions that have to be made locally as part of the public sector learning to live within its means rather than setting out their vision.

I am Swindon born and bred and I am proud of the town. Most people here basically want to raise their families, keep their homes looking nice, work and give something back to their communities. I stand by the Conservative record of investment in the town which speaks for itself, the Central Library, the old college site is progressing, we have the UTC, new schools, the investment in the Oasis and the new RDF plant is also saving money.

Why be a Councillor? Because if you care about your town and are willing to listen to people and try to make things better, then despite all the inevitable criticism that comes from being in politics, you do have the chance to help individual people solve problems and help to make policies and decisions which benefit the town as a whole.

Party politics often misses the point that over the last few years virtually all of the budget is agreed by all political parties - there are just a few headline grabbing amendments. Also many of the key policies are also agreed cross party.
There isn't lots of money in the bank as we are forever being told. You have managed to scrap perfectly good car parks, turning places like Harding St into an eyesore of builders fencing, and build a monstrosity that loses almost all the money you claim will be saved from charging for green waste and cutting recycling collections. Many have said your sums don't add up, and a lot of green waste will end up on landfill, costing the current account even more money.

Development needs to be sustainable. If you build a car park it must make money. If you build a retail complex with borrowed money, you need a mechanism to recover that investment, without the outlay becoming a millstone around the current account and leading to yet more core services being cut back.

The WiFi shambles shows Swindon Council cannot be entrusted with even relatively small sums of our money, and those responsible should count themselves lucky if they are removed from office via the ballot box when they might very easily have faced a criminal investigation.
[quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: The Council has a revenue budget and a capital budget. The Council gets income primarily from Government grants and Council tax. Of the income we receive most money is spent on statutory services which is predominantly spent on adults and children with social care needs. Yes the Council has invested in Swindon and yes it has borrowed to invest. We have built several new schools and other facilities such as the Pinetrees community centre and yes that borrowing has a cost. When Labour ran the Council the services were run so badly that a Labour Central Government took away education and social care services from the Council. Labour also did double digit Council tax rises. What is the point of having lots of money in the bank when your central library is in a mobile hut, your schools very badly outdated and your services are among the worst in the entire country? The Council has consistently improved in these service areas and Council tax increases have been lower and recently have been completely frozen. Around £140million of the Council's debt is debt arising out of the self financing system of Council housing which is why we had the housing ballot. Labour voted against giving tenants a vote at all and actively campaigned to keep Council houses under Council control despite the debt. So when it comes to housing they think it is worth having debt just to keep housing under Council control, but borrowing to invest in Swindon is wrong? The reality is that the public sector as a whole has to learn to live within its means and that means making difficult decisions about how much we can spend on services which means looking at changing the ways that we provide them. Nationally from 1997-2001 Labour stuck to the Conservative Government spending plans from 2001 onwards they simply spent too much and Ed Balls is unapologetic about the national debt and the national deficit. Swindon Labour locally have placed most of their emphasis on criticising the difficult decisions that have to be made locally as part of the public sector learning to live within its means rather than setting out their vision. I am Swindon born and bred and I am proud of the town. Most people here basically want to raise their families, keep their homes looking nice, work and give something back to their communities. I stand by the Conservative record of investment in the town which speaks for itself, the Central Library, the old college site is progressing, we have the UTC, new schools, the investment in the Oasis and the new RDF plant is also saving money. Why be a Councillor? Because if you care about your town and are willing to listen to people and try to make things better, then despite all the inevitable criticism that comes from being in politics, you do have the chance to help individual people solve problems and help to make policies and decisions which benefit the town as a whole. Party politics often misses the point that over the last few years virtually all of the budget is agreed by all political parties - there are just a few headline grabbing amendments. Also many of the key policies are also agreed cross party.[/p][/quote]There isn't lots of money in the bank as we are forever being told. You have managed to scrap perfectly good car parks, turning places like Harding St into an eyesore of builders fencing, and build a monstrosity that loses almost all the money you claim will be saved from charging for green waste and cutting recycling collections. Many have said your sums don't add up, and a lot of green waste will end up on landfill, costing the current account even more money. Development needs to be sustainable. If you build a car park it must make money. If you build a retail complex with borrowed money, you need a mechanism to recover that investment, without the outlay becoming a millstone around the current account and leading to yet more core services being cut back. The WiFi shambles shows Swindon Council cannot be entrusted with even relatively small sums of our money, and those responsible should count themselves lucky if they are removed from office via the ballot box when they might very easily have faced a criminal investigation. wa231
  • Score: 0

11:13am Mon 24 Feb 14

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

"Labour also did double digit Council tax rises." - Am I alone in being completely sick of this term constantly being used? Yes, Labour were incompetent. Did the conservatives reverse those changes and give us a double digit drop in council tax? Nope.

It's time party politics were completely removed from government. They're getting in the way of democracy.
"Labour also did double digit Council tax rises." - Am I alone in being completely sick of this term constantly being used? Yes, Labour were incompetent. Did the conservatives reverse those changes and give us a double digit drop in council tax? Nope. It's time party politics were completely removed from government. They're getting in the way of democracy. The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 0

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