Business rates should be dropped for public libraries believes one Swindon councillor.

As the resources and corporate overview and scrutiny committee discussed a briefing from senior finance officer Paul Smith on the national autumn budget, widely heralded by Conservative ministers as seeing "the end of austerity."

In that budget it was announced that authorities running public lavatories would no longer have to pay business rates on the facilities, in an effort to try and keep more open.

Labour councillor for Rodbourne Cheney, Des Moffatt said: "I was glad to see the dropping of national non-domestic rates for public toilets.

"I'd like to see the government get rid of rates for public libraries as well. I think that would make it much more likely that libraries will be kept open wherever they are.

"Is there anyone campaigning for this?"

Business rates are paid by businesses, and such institutions as libraries and public lavatories. They are set by central government and are based on the rent a business premises could be let for. Properties with a rateable value of less than £12,000 are exempt from paying.

While the rates are collected by Swindon Borough Council, the authority only keeps half of what it collects. There are plans by Whitehall to allow local authorities to keep up to 75 per cent of business rates by 2020-21.

Mr Smith told councillors that a greater reduction in UK's borrowing than anticipated last year allowed the Chancellor Philip Hammond to increase spending without exceeding his previously expected borrowing position.

Swindon has already been told it will have a £1.24m share of an extra £420m allocated to fix potholes in roads.