Delivering Value For Money for Swindon’s Taxpayers

Labour Group Leader, Jim Grant, calls on a new administration to take control of Swindon Council in order to deliver value for money to Swindon Council-tax Payers’.

Since May’s Local Elections I have been, along with my fellow Labour colleagues, knocking on doors around the town. One of the things I have been trying to find out when doing this is what people most want from their Council. The answer that consistently came back from my question was simple and straightforward. Local residents want a Council that demonstrates value for money from their Council-taxes. What’s more, residents don’t believe they are currently getting value for money from their Council-taxes.

Local residents’ criticism could not be more demonstrable than at Tuesday’s Audit Committee Meeting which I attended, where members of the Conservative Group on the committee voted down Councillor Des Moffatt’s (Lab, Western) request to have a full audit of every single penny of the £400,000 of Council-tax payers’ money loaned to Digital City (the Wi-Fi company).

The Conservative Group’s £400K loan to Digital City and the failure of Digital City to start paying Council-tax payers’ any of that loan back, has become a shining example of why local residents don’t feel their money is being well-spent. That is why it seems nonsensical that the Conservative Group wouldn’t be prepared to support a full audit of the £400K loan in order to understand where that loan went and to find out lessons for the future, particularly as the Council Leader has said that he intends to do more of these kinds of deals in the future.

I think the public are looking for an administration who acts differently. They are looking for an administration that treats every single penny of their money with the respect it deserves, rather than an administration who relishes making dangerous decisions which risks Council-tax payers’ money on fantasy projects.

If I am elected as Leader of the Council following May’s 2012 elections, this will be my top priority.

Cllr Jim Grant Labour Group Leader