There appears to be a difference of opinion in the local red nest on whether or not Swindon Borough Council should dip into its reserves to keep council tax down. On the one hand, there’s the Snelgrovian view, expressed last November, that it’s good to spend some reserves to keep council tax low.

I don’t know how much Swindon Council has in reserves but I do know that the council needs to be thinking how it can do this [cut council tax]…. We all have to make sure that people are helped so I think that Swindon Council should be looking at its capital reserves and seeing if it can do something even if it is a one-off.

Then there’s the view of Mr Small, adamant that use of reserves is a bad thing.

There seems to be a £1.8m gap between the 3.5 per cent increase and what is needed to balance the budget. Some of that will be paid for with one-off monies. This budget is going to give us a debt of at least £2m because of the use of one-off monies. That will have to be carried over into next year’s budget.

Perhaps Mr Small should give his friend Mr Brown some advice about keeping out of debt.