At a time when property prices are depressed, and there is a surfeit of empty land and commercial properties in Swindon. Eric Pickles Tory Minister and boss of local councils, has prodded Swindon Tories with his unwelcome advice to sell off the the Assets owned by the people of Swindon all bought and paid for over the years by council tax, business rates and borrowing.
The football ground, County ground, Swindon Rugby club, golf courses shops and pubs etc. Now Councillor Rod bluh the Conservative council leader has quickly stepped in since I blogged about this yesterday and tweeted about it. Rod admits that as the economy picks up he will dispose of properties to pay for regeneration. As the leader of the council he has been in charge of unprecedented borrowing levels to fund Whicelstowe and other ventures. before Tories started borrowing to Spend, Spend, Spend their way to a Tory Utopia Swindon Council had a a net borrowing of £10million in the bank, the conservatives have as published in Labour’s election campaign in May got through a whopping eye watering amount that is in excess of £63 million. Odd the Tories will not tell us where it has gone, though they admit to £45 million on Whichelstowe. This had to be dragged out of them and people are rightly suspicious that the figure is higher. The council has had to put a note on its accounts to identify its borrowing levels something that should be an embarrassment during austere times.
I think that when Rod bluh is quoted as saying “I hope no one is suggesting we sell off our assets at rock bottom prices” (Swindon Advertiser 6/8/11) he then asks himself is this what Eric Pickles is doing? I believe it is exactly that, as has been proved by the Pickles and Shapps inspired fire sale of Swindon’s council houses, at the ridiculously low price of around £6,000 each! The Tories are now falling foul of their own contradictory statements about their performance and their political flip flopping is becoming legendary.
No doubt the asset sale is almost certainly likely to happen, if the housing sale falls through as the tenants can pick their landlord and the Tory Led government has to live with that. If Pickles plan A fails to sell Swindon’s council homes, I am beginning to worry that out of spite and because of the pressing need to pay down the debt they have racked up on Whicelstowe. The Tories will sell off the other assets, such as the football ground. Of course they will be pushed on by prodding from Pickles and his plan b to flog the family silver.