SWINDON has been labelled a “town going nowhere fast” by the BBC.

The town was used as an example of the effects of the economic downturn in a report by Mark Easton, the BBC’s home editor.

Throughout yesterday the BBC reported from other towns feeling the effect of the downturn, including Middlesbrough, Cardiff and East Kilbride.

In his introduction to the piece Mr Easton said: “Swindon has big ideas – ambitions to become a thriving, expanding city in the heart of Wiltshire but the plan is on hold.

“It is a town going nowhere fast.

“Unemployment in the town has doubled in a year – hundreds of redundancies and lay-offs “The town’s biggest private employer, Honda, has stopped production for four months. Families are being forced to re-think their lives.”

But the report, which included interviews with a number of Swindon people, ended on a more positive note.

He signed off with the words: “But Swindon is a can-do town and for many there is a determination that gloom doesn’t have to be doom.”

Council leader, Coun Rod Bluh, rejected the “nowhere town” jibe.

He said: “Nothing could be further from the truth.

“We know we are in a recession and we know it has been tough but we are a place of ambition and that ambition is being realised.

“What they said in the programme could be said about anywhere at the moment.

“Swindon is often picked on because it is a microcosm of the UK – a lot of market testing is done here as it’s seen to be very representative.”

Anne Snelgrove, MP for South Swindon, thought the BBC’s coverage had summed up Swindon well.

She said: “I thought overall the piece reflected quite well what is going on in Swindon.

“Some people are optimistic and are getting jobs, but there are others who are more pessimistic about what is going on.

“As it pointed out in the piece a lot of people over 50 are finding it difficult to get jobs.

“The line about Swindon going nowhere was unfortunate and wrong, and I didn’t think it was reflected in the rest of the story.”

North Swindon MP, Michael Wills, said: “The BBC are wrong to say this is a town going nowhere.

“We are suffering from the global recession.

“But, Mark Easton is right to say that this is a can-do town.

“Swindon has been through recessions before and come out strongly and better and I am sure that will happen this time.”