At the end of this week the Leader of the Swindon Labour Group called on Swindon Council’s Leader and Deputy Leader to resign over their involvement in the Wi-Fi project. In this exclusive blog the Swindon Labour Group Leader explains why he took this decision.
On Friday’s BBC Radio Swindon Drive Time programme I called on both Swindon borough Council’s Leader and Deputy Leader to resign from their Cabinet positions due to their involvement over Wi-Fi.
Although there have been bitter disputes with the Leader of the Council over his highly interpretive use of Swindon borough Council’s written constitution to get the £400,000 loan to Digital City made without informing Councillors or Council-taxpayers’, there are ultimately three reasons why Swindon Council’s leader and deputy leader should resign from their senior positions within the Council.
Firstly, I believe both Councillors Bluh and Perkins are culpable because they have both failed to recover even a penny of the £400,000 loan to Digital City, despite the company being contracted to pay back all of the money to the Council by October this year.
Secondly, I have called for this because both Councillors Bluh and Perkins have consistently failed to explain to Swindon taxpayers where their £400,000 has gone. This destroys all credibility the council has to say to taxpayers about how their council is being open and transparent in using their money.
And thirdly, I have called for this because the council’s reputation is being harmed at a national level, with the wi-fi failure being covered in the national press, including the Guardian newspaper.
The Leader of Swindon Council ultimately has to take the rap for this as it was his unilateral decision to agree to loan Digital City £400,000 of Council-taxpayers’ money, with Council members and even most Cabinet members not even being informed of the project.
However, the Deputy Leader of the Council does have to take much of the responsibility for Digital City not paying back any of the £400K Council-taxpayer loan since it is he is acting on behalf of the Council as a Director of Digital City.
Now I understand that some will suggest my resignation calls are politically motivated and that if Swindon council-taxpayers’ want Councillors bluh and Perkins out they can exercise their right to vote them out. However this is beyond political parties. This is about two men who have taken actions unilaterally in the name, and on behalf of, the Council which have lost £400,000 of Council-taxpayers’ money.
And because it is these two councillors, and only these two councillors, who have made such mistakes, I believe it is them who have to go.
Councillor Jim Grant
Leader of the Labour Group