Swindon Borough Council Election 2015: No agreement on budget cuts

Swindon Borough Council Image copyright Google
Image caption Swindon Borough Council's budget was cut by £17m for next year

Cutting out consultant fees and raising council tax have been suggested as ways to balance Swindon Borough Council's future budget.

Candidates and party representatives shared their ideas on a BBC Wiltshire debate ahead of the forthcoming Swindon Borough Council elections.

The Conservatives defended spending £2m on consultant fees saying the council did not have those skills in-house.

Swindon Borough Council's budget was cut by £17m to £136.5m for 2015/16.

Labour's Junab Ali called for consultant fees to be cut.

He added: "We've got contracts with Capita - but we can do better, negotiate and take out whatever remaining contracts exist back in-house.

"We've found the ones that have been brought back in-house have been shown to be more efficient."

Liberal Democrat Stan Pajak, said he would would prioritise services to decide on future cuts.

'Lobbying hard'

Green candidate, Andy Bentley, said his party would raise council taxes in order to save services.

He also backed Labour's idea of saving £319,000 by sending councillors to lobby Westminster instead of using external consultants.

But the Conservatives said it needed to pay for expertise.

Conservative council leader, David Renard added: "The vast majority the council spends on consultants is on roads so it's about assessing and analysing the business case.

"We do lobby very hard for extra money for Swindon - the MPs and I have been very successful in getting a 4% uplift in the amount of money the schools receive in Swindon."

UKIP's Jenny Jeffries, blamed "poor management" for money being lost from the council's budget and said a centralised purchasing department would save money on procuring council contracts.

A third of seats on Swindon Borough Council will be contested on 7 May.

All of the candidates apart from Stan Pajak and Junab Ali are standing in the council elections. Mr Pajak and Mr Ali were chosen to represent their parties' views.

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