I’m sure Swindon taxpayers will find it unbelievable that the Tory administration is planning to add to the Council £100m over just two years, so the Council will have a debt of nearly £300m.
Swindon Council’s net debt is set to increase by £97m from 2015/16 to 2017/18, according to a Treasury Management Statement set to be presented to Full Council on the 23rd February. It will increase from £193.5m in 2015/16 to £290m in 2017/18.
According to Table 1 of the Medium Term Financial Strategy presented to Cabinet on the 4th February, this increase in council debt will lead to increases in annual debt charges by £2m each year and the council already spends £9m on debt charges each year.
The Labour Group Leader, Councillor Jim Grant, says that these increases in debt show a lack of control from the Conservative Group in handling the Council’s finances.
"These increases in debt show a lack of control from the Conservative's in handling Council finances." – Jim Grant
The Labour Group Leader, Councillor Jim Grant, said: “I’m sure Swindon taxpayers will find it unbelievable that the Tory administration is planning to add to the Council £100m over just two years, so the Council will have a debt of nearly £300m. Since I have become Labour Group Leader I have repeatedly questioned and challenged why the Conservative Group have embarked on such a significant spending splurge which means the Council is spending nearly £10m each year on debt charges.
Just over ten years ago when the Conservative Group took control of the Council, they inherited a £6m budget surplus from Labour. Now they’re embarking on a debt of £300m and what concerns me is that they have no strategy to bring this debt down. In fact they’re intensely relaxed about the levels of debt they’re developing.
I have previously called on the Conservative Group to have a strategy to properly control the levels of council debt and do so again now. After the general election local government funding will be cut further. The Tories have no idea how Swindon is to cope with the double whammy of further cuts and spiralling debt. I fear for the future of this council”