The Labour group has said Swindon Borough Council should be focusing all of its efforts on supporting residents and local businesses.

It comes as the council told the Advertiser that its first and foremost priority in 2022 was to the "protect and support the most vulnerable". 

It added that it is determined to be the party putting forward “sensible, deliverable plans to act on the priorities that Swindon residents are telling us that they want to see.”.

These include “a regenerated and safe town centre, a town that values and takes care of its heritage such as the Mechanics Institution, the Locarno, the Oasis and the Museum and Art Gallery, a town that values local businesses and seeks to keep money circulating around the local economy and a town that delivers the best possible future to its young people.”

Labour leader Jim Grant said: “2022 will be a year of rising bills and real pressure on household budgets. The Conservative government is presiding over a cost-of-living crisis, with inflation rising, energy costs rocketing, national insurance increasing and rail fares going up. The Labour group was shocked to see the Government proposing a nine per cent rise in council tax over the next three years.

“The council should be focusing all of its efforts this year on supporting residents and local businesses to get through the pandemic and cope with the rising bills.

"The Conservative administration should be lobbying the central government to start funding local government properly and stop relying on excessive council tax bills at a time when wages aren’t rising anywhere near the rate of inflation.”

Coun Grant also said: "The council needs to get a grip on the traffic chaos which has been causing huge delays all over town and further harming hard working residents and businesses who are struggling to get through the pandemic.

"It was so frustrating to see Conservative Councillors vote down a sensible three-point plan proposed by Labour to get the town moving again.”