Wiltshire

Swindon council leaders survive vote of no confidence

  • 23 September 2011
  • From the section Wiltshire

The leader and deputy leader of Swindon Borough Council have survived a motion of no confidence after Labour councillors called for them to resign.

Conservative councillors Rod Bluh and Garry Perkins were accused of poor judgement after a failed project to provide free wi-fi to Swindon.

Previously, Labour leader Jim Grant said the town had lost £400,000.

The motion was defeated by 34 votes to 15, with five abstentions, at a council meeting on Thursday.

Mr Bluh said that the vote of no confidence was an "absolute disgrace" and purely a party political manoeuvre.

New deal

"They [the Labour group] put forward a motion of no confidence, which is pretty serious, and they couldn't even be bothered to get their facts right.

"I don't mind being challenged for what I do but I am not having my integrity pulled apart."

In response Mr Grant said: "At a time when this Tory administration is making £21m worth of cuts over two years they're happy to give away £400,000 for nothing in effect.

"I stand by what was said last night, I wonder whether they are standing by their commitment to Digital City to get the money back. They are yet to apologise to the people of Swindon."

In 2009, the borough council lent operator Digital City UK £400,000 to roll out wireless technology in the town but the firm has since gone bust.

Mr Bluh said the council would get the money back but it could take a maximum of five years.

The original plan has been replaced with a deal between the council and UK Broadband to provide the UK's first 4G network for mobile phones and computers.

The super-fast wireless communications system would only be offered to the council and local businesses to begin with.

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