THE decision by Swindon Council’s cabinet to back the dimming or extinguishing of certain street lights at certain times is perhaps understandable.

It also runs a severe risk of opening the borough to ridicule and damaging its reputation.

Ultimate blame for this and other cost cutting measures must be directed entirely toward Westminster, the council’s ultimate paymaster.

Governments of all political complexions have long treated Swindon as a poor relation when it comes to funding.

Often they cite our very prosperity as an excuse for our being short-changed yet again.

The strictures imposed since the economic crisis which began in 2008 have simply cranked up the misery.

It is an immense pity that the council’s cabinet felt it had no alternative but to impose restrictions on existing street lighting as part of the long-term plan for LED provision. There is something bitterly paradoxical about a move which simultaneously embraces the bright future while partially surrendering to the unlit past.

We very much hope that news of the measures does not make potential investors think twice about bringing their businesses, their expertise and their top personnel here. Our council wouldn’t be the first organisation to have a cost-saving measure backfire.

Something else we hope is that the dimming and switching off of lights does not increase the risk of death and injury among road users.

The authority makes much of a motoring organisation’s report which suggests no such increase; with luck this document will turn out to be accurate rather than an excuse to fall back on should something awful happen.

Sadly, the people of the borough will almost certainly continue to suffer such penny-pinching for the foreseeable future.