So, interesting question here

Slough goes bankrupt after discovery of £100m ‘black hole’ in budget

Was this another example of politicians being so good at investing public money?

These shortcomings included weak management and oversight of a number of companies partly or wholly owned by the council, exposing it to “significant financial risk”. The council has borrowed £580m since 2016, and the cost of servicing these loans added to the pressures on its budget.

Ah, yes, it is.

16 thoughts on “So, interesting question here”

  1. Why confine your suspicions of incompetence to the politicians? Slough’s bureaucrats probably deserve a large slice of the blame too.

  2. Slough chief executive Josie Wragg said steps to improve the council’s situation over the coming months would include disposing of some of the assets it owns outside the borough – perhaps including the Odeon Cinema it owns in Basingstoke, the site of a Wickes store in Wolverhampton and a Waitrose supermarket in Gosport – as well as those which are not generating any money
    Unbelievable.

  3. I thought local govts weren’t allowed to run up debts? That was always the explanation given when they said they couldn’t build more council housing. (If they’d borrowed money for residential rather than commercial property, they’d be in a far better financial position today.)

  4. Slough Labour Council spunks nearly £600 million and then defaults.

    Maggie once said that sooner or later Socialists run out of other people’s money.

    This is a case for surcharging councillors, and firing senior council staff sans pension rights – as would happen in the outside world.

    What a bunch of utter fucking bastards.

  5. They can borrow to “invest”. Which is why so many have borrowed to buy shopping centres and the like. Just as the internet revolution arrives……

  6. They would have done better to put the money into SEGRO, the former Slough Estates, CAGR 23% over the last 5 years so doubling in value every 3 and a bit years

  7. Slough is also very badly constructed. Its boundaries are drawn very tightly, bits of “Slough” aren’t actually in Slough, it has no hinterland, all the revenue is in some other council area, picture Bohemia after the Sudatenland has been removed. It is an exemplar of how not to create a unitary authority.

  8. For those that aren’t aware – one of the first things that Blair’s gubbermint did back in the day was to shitcan the surcharging of councillors – Clay Cross ‘n all.

    That said I reckon Wiltshire Council got gouged ca. £10,000,000 by Balfour Beatty on a contract they’d not read…. – and then went on to hide the consequences by a wholesale re-jigging of the accounts delivered nearly 6 months after the statutory due date – and refused to disclose the terms of the contract termination to councillors.

    Bring back the pillory and stocks.

  9. @jgh
    That’s because nobody wants to be in Slough – house prices plummet as you move across the border from (say) Farnham Common. My brother, who lives in Ascot, hates his SL postcode (I’m not too fond of my Hemel one 🙂 ).

  10. Slough is not bankrupt; it’s merely its council that is. Typical of the Guardian that it does not see a distinction between the place and its government.

  11. Wonky Moral Compass

    @Chris Miller
    It could be worse, you could live in a popular market town lumbered with a Stevenage postcode.

  12. Chris: That supports my favoured option to just abolish Slough as a seperate entity and just have undifferentiatied “Buckinghamshire” or something.

  13. Bloke in North Dorset

    “The council has borrowed £580m since 2016, and the cost of servicing these loans added to the pressures on its budget.”

    What interest rate did they borrow at? Even in 2016 MMTers were telling us government could borrow at effectively 0% so local government couldn’t have been much more?

    Or is there more to that debt than we’re being told (it’s late, I’ve had a long day and can’t be arsed to waste my time reading a Guardian article)

  14. @ Wonky Moral Compass
    I do live in a popular market town lumbered with a Stevenage postcode. Actually it’s not too bad despite the debts we have been lumbered with by the LibDems, who thought they were geniuses at property investment, every time they gained power locally. [One of their developments intended to generate income from “events” can only have the ground floor used for “events” because the architect forgot to include a fire escape from the first floor!!]

  15. I once took my Narrowboat up the Slough Arm to the basin at the end. We took one swift glance round and proceeded to rapidly return to the main Grand Union canal.

  16. @Wonky Moral Compass – @Chris Miller

    It could be worse, you could live in a popular market town lumbered with a Stevenage postcode.

    That’s nothing! We live in a delightful village in a heavily-wooded river valley, and we’ve got a feckin’ “Telford” postcode!! 🙂

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