Shoppers invited to play their 'Council Tax cards right' in drive to highlight how cash is spent

By Ben Fitzgerald - 11 March 2019


Invoking the spirit of the late great Sir Bruce Forsyth, a sparkly waistcoated wearing member of Swindon Borough Council's communications team challenged shoppers to play their 'Swindon Council Tax Cards Right' in an highly-specific twist on the classic TV quiz show.

The stunt saw visitors to the Brunel Centre taking on the task of guessing the proportion of cash, of every £1,000 of council tax payers' contribution spent, that is used to fund key services in the town.
As a small cluster of onlookers urged participants to guess 'higher!' or alternatively 'lower!' the quizmaster unveiled the correct figure with a  flourish.
One willing punter, was Ryan Walker, 23, a design consultant for the Total Swindon website who said: "It was a useful way of finding out about the money that goes to pay for the different services in Swindon, it was quite surprising to see the amount that is used to pay for social care."
Swindon Borough Council leader David Renard, who was overseeing events said: "This is about getting the message across to council tax payers about how their money is spent. I think that some people may be surprised that 80% goes to supporting vulnerable people in Swindon."
In recent years, Swindon, in common with other local authorities, has faced an increased demand for children's and adults' services which has impacting on the available money to spend on other services.
For every £1,000 of taxpayers money, Swindon Borough Council spends: 

Street cleaning and Street Lighting - £16
Business Support, insurance, Hr, IT, Communications, legal and finance - £2
Housing the homeless and housing planning - £13
Caring for older people and adults with Special Needs - £480
Leisure, libraries and Culture - £22
Supporting young people - £31
Maintaining roads and grounds - £5
Protecting children and vulnerable young people - £275
Keeping people safe - £9
Investing in major projects - £42


Your Comments

OK, so regardless of whether this "stunt" was a positive or a negative exercise (and I have my own views on that), how the [CENSORED] can a local authority justify spending 76% of it's income on social care? It seems like this exercise was designed to convey a justification for shortfalls in other areas. To me, it just reinforces a disregard for the majority of the local population. You only have to take a look around the town to see the under-investment. How about spending a larger proportion of our council tax on services that will benefit those that actually pay it? I'm not advocating a heartless society, but this is unsustainable, surely?

Posted: 11 March 2019, 10.22PM by: Chelmernick

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