Labour leader Jim Grant: Plans to bridge £20m budget gap could lead to cuts

By Ben Fitzgerald - 20 December 2018

CommunityOpinion and FeaturesPolitics

Swindon Labour Group Leader Cllr Jim Grant 

The Conservative Cabinet on Swindon Borough Council recently presented their budget proposals. Despite Theresa May proclaiming the “end to austerity”, the council has an expected budget gap of £20m which needs to be found by council tax rises and budget cuts. 

Conservative councillors have proposed an above-inflation council tax increase of 4% next year. They have also proposed drastic cuts in funding to secondary schools in need of improvement, to the Dial a Ride service (which could lead to the end of the transport service) and even cuts to transport services provided for children with special educational needs and disabilities. 

Labour do support some of the savings proposed, most notably the closure of the council-owned company Forward Swindon, making the council “paperless” and rolling out LED bulbs across all our streetlights which saves huge amounts on electricity. The problem is they should have delivered this five years ago as Labour had argued, which could have saved millions of council-taxpayers money without any impact on frontline services.

 After being criticised by Labour, local residents and even the Government, conservative councillors on Swindon council have postponed a decision to end the council’s plastics recycling service. While they have committed to not ending the service for now, they have not ruled out doing so in the future. 

Swindon’s recycling rate is currently only 38%, way below most other local councils. That is why Labour Councillors are committed to not only retaining plastic recycling collection but we will also introduce a food waste collection service, like nearly half of all other local councils provide.

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