An odd way to help

The government has recently announced that it is giving Swindon Borough Council an extra £428,873.52 — yes, the figures are calculated down to individual pennies — of tax payers’ money (or more accurately, given the way the government has squandered our money, of tax payers’ debt). According to the government press release, there are no strings attached to this money.

Local Government Minister John Healey has today confirmed that 360 councils will receive their share of £100million within the next few days, to be used as they see fit to help meet local needs and priorities – particularly helpful in this difficult economic climate.

Naturally, the government’s representative in South Swindon, Ms Snelgrove, has been quick to comment.

I am calling on Swindon Borough Council to use this money to save Old Town and Walcot Libraries and look at how the Groundwell Park & Ride can be kept open…. I will be asking the Council for full details of how they intend to spend this money and to make sure it isn’t swallowed up within the Council.

’Tis an odd choice that. Now, as I’ve made clear, I’m no fan of the proposals to close the Park & Ride service. I don’t find Mr Edwards’ latest argument for not supporting the service convincing either, as it’s far better to seek a long term future for the service with it still running than with it closed. However, though both it and the library closures have received plenty of publicity, they affect relatively few of Ms Snelgrove’s constituents — particularly the Park & Ride service which is in Mr Wills’ patch. Something that affects far more of her constituents but has received far less publicity is the sharp increase in the cost of Residents’ Parking Permits. On that, Ms Snelgrove has nothing to say. And I say that as someone that neither lives in a Residents’ Parking zone nor owns a car.

It really shouldn’t surprise Ms Snelgrove that she’s known as the government’s representative in South Swindon when she chooses to support issues for their political point scoring value rather than for their impact on her constituents.