Letter to the Editor: We will be paying for Mayor’s “spending spree” for years to come


Dear editor,

In a recent article (Bedford Independent, 2 November), the Mayor tried to defend his reckless spending spree funded by a staggering £53m of borrowing; the equivalent of over £280 for every adult and child in the Borough.

At the heart of this spending spree is his new Leisure Village vanity project. A project with little detail but a big price tag.

Read: Bedford ‘Leisure Village’ part of council’s vision for Borough

Even more concerning, Mayor Wootton went on to claim that borrowing will be the last resort after other funding sources are used “such as the Community Infrastructure Levy” [his words] 
What he doesn’t make clear is that the £53m price tag IS the borrowing needed AFTER the use of those other sources.

And this unprecedented increase in borrowing comes at a cost: Each and every £1 borrowed has to be repaid and with interest in the years ahead. In fact, even Conservative Mayor Wootton’s own finance portfolio holder admitted just last month that “the approximate cost was £100,000 for every £1 million of borrowing.” [Source]

A potential cost of £5m per year for this £53m.

This is a reckless dash to spend big now which we, as residents, will find ourselves paying for for years if not decades to come, be it in increased taxes or reduced services.

Henry Vann
Leader of Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats

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