Swindon’s Labour Party will be fighting next year’s local election campaign with a promise to “turn the lights back on in Swindon”, by reversing the Conservative administration’s decision in July to switch off more than 400 streetlights in Swindon. The Swindon Labour Group Leader explains why the Labour Party have taken this decision.
This week I publicly stated that one of Labour’s campaign pledges for next year’s elections will be to reverse the Tories’ streetlights switch off and to turn the lights back on in Swindon.
Despite only making a £20,000 dent in the administration’s budget blackhole this year, the Tories have taken away one of the few things that all Council-tax payers’ deserve and expect from their council- providing street and road lighting. I hope Labour’s pledge will be a timely reassurance to pedestrians, cyclists and drivers in the town who have seen many of their streets and roads darkened as a result of the Tory administration’s decision.
I think what the administration has forgotten when deciding to switch off 400 of Swindon’s streetlights, is that local residents see streetlights as an essential amenity that they pay for through their council-taxes.
What makes this decision even more galling for residents is that while they have to deal with unlit streets, 140 other streetlights in unopened roads around the town have been left on for 3 months, costing the Council more than a thousand pounds. It is wholly unjust for the administration to tell residents they are making savings through switching their streetlights off and then leave streetlights on for 3 months on unopened roads.
Labour would find the money to switch back on the streetlights through cutting money from non-essential areas of Council expenditure. For example the Council is still spending £35K on Conference expenses and £50K on Council hospitality. Significantly cutting either of these budgets would be enough to switch the streetlights back on.
Areas most affected by streetlight cuts: