Swindon Borough Council’s net debt is expected to increase by more than £20m in 2013/14. Swindon Council debt as at April 1st 2013 was at £98m and is expected to increase to £120m by April 1st 2014 according to a Council Treasury Management Report.
Swindon Borough Council’s net debt is expected to increase by more than £20m in 2013/14. Swindon Council debt as at April 1st 2013 was at £98m and is expected to increase to £120m by April 1st 2014 according to a Council Treasury Management Report. This has resulted in Swindon Council budgeted an additional £1m in its Debt management budget for 2014/15 which has now reached £10.7m. In 2012/13, Swindon Borough Council budgeted £8.7m on debt management and the Conservative-controlled Council budgeted £9.7m on debt management in 2013/14.
Swindon's Labour Councillors have pointed to political decisions by the Conservative Cabinet over large-scale capital spending for the reason why the Council has accrued such a large debt, such as the £45m the Council spent on the Wichelstowe development as well as lots of other smaller capital spending such as the £400K on the Wi-Fi project. They added that the main reason for the £20m increase in Council debts was the £16m the Conservative administration spent on the Whalebridge Car Park.
The Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Jim Grant, said:
“While the Conservative-controlled council have made cuts to things like Children’s Centres, roads and bus services and are now proposing to charge people £40 per year to have their green waste collected, they have racked up huge debts that has resulted in £1m increases in annual debt charges both in this financial year and the next financial year.
I think Swindon residents will rightly be asking themselves why has the Conservative administration got Swindon Council in a position that they’re increasing their debt charges budget while making unprecedented cuts to important council services that affect us all?
And the answer is that they have taken the decision that they will spend money on things like an unneeded car park in the Town Centre. At some stage when you make this unnecessary spending your annual debt charges have to go up.
What worries me is that it is likely that the council’s annual debt charges will go up again in the future and that is something we should be desperately trying to avoid.”
Cllr Jim Grant, Swindon Labour Group Leader