Labour leader Derique Montaut has accused Swindon Council of splashing out on expensive lobbyists and neglecting the needs of elderly people.

Councillor Montaut has hit out after claiming that the council has spent £129,400 on London lobbying organisation, Connect PA, to try and get secure funding for the town’s Regeneration despite having two MPs who would have done it for nothing.

He said the contract started in the beginning of July 2009 and will end in January 2011 and is in relation to funding the Swindon Town Centre Regeneration Project.

Coun Montaut said: “In a time of economic hardship, where council employees are experiencing real-terms pay cuts and day centres for the elderly are being shut down, Swindon can ill afford to pay for luxuries like a lobbying contract in London, when there are perfectly acceptable, cheaper alternatives to getting central Government funding – like using Swindon’s two MPs.”

One of the town’s Labour MPs, Michael Wills, has also waded into the row and said he would have been happy to lobby on behalf of Swindon Council.

He said: “I am disappointed that despite all my attempts to engage with the council and advise them about how to lobby the government effectively they have chosen to ignore my advice and instead spend public money on employing lobbyists to do this job for them.

“It’s even more disappointing that despite the council paying these lobbyists, they have not contacted me nor have Swindon borough councillors made any attempt to engage constructively with me on any of the issues that matter to the town.”

But, Conservative leader of the council, Coun Rod Bluh, has rubbished the statements and said that they are being made for political gain and do not reflect the true picture.

He said: “This attack is the last gasp from two failed Members of Parliament who have not delivered for local people.

“Their comments are designed purely for the forthcoming election and have nothing to do with the future of the borough.”