Last Updated: 10 February 2011
Created: 10 February 2011
David Cameron With Stratton St Margaret Cllr Mark Edwards
& Family During Today's Visit
THE Prime Minister has told Swindon that ‘in spite of the cuts your future is bright’.
During a visit to the town’s Honda factory yesterday afternoon, David Cameron said the town has “immense potential” and others should follow its example.
He said Swindon Council’s chief executive’s decision to accept a pay cut was a move not enough councils were following.
Before a question-and-answer session with Honda workers, he was asked by the Adver what he is doing to help hard-hit Swindon – with its town centre standing moribund and Honda axing thousands of jobs in the recession.
Mr Cameron said: “We should talk up Swindon’s performance.
“It has some really top employers in terms of high tech and manufacturing industry.
“Of course I want to do more to help. We’re cutting the rate of corporation tax to help them grow and invest. We’re investing in apprenticeships. We’re freezing council tax to try and help local families.
“Swindon has got immense potential – a strong active council, two great new MPs, great businesses.
“I think Swindon has a very bright future. And central government will do all it can to help.”
Asked about the budget squeeze on the council – such as the controversial replacement of the council’s Homecare team with cheaper private care – Mr Cameron said: “The council is taking its responsibilities properly.
“The chief executive has taken a pay cut. I applaud that. It hasn’t happened in enough places.
“The level of government grant Swindon gets is going to go back to the level it had in 2009. This isn’t about swingeing cuts going back to the 1980s.
“All councils have to take difficult decisions.
“But I’d urge them to start following Swindon’s example and start cutting costs of management before cutting services.”
In August 2010, chief executive Gavin Jones took a seven per cent pay cut on his salary of £178,476.
At a question and answer session, Honda workers fired questions at the Prime Minister about immigration, policing cuts, the decline of UK manufacturing, and helping small businesses.
Among them was Swithin Cardoso, an employee who has just set up a sweet shop called Dolce Amore in Highworth with his wife.
Asked what the government is doing to help, Mr Cameron said he is pushing banks to lend more freely, cutting small business rate corporation tax, and making it harder for staff to launch industrial tribunals against their employers.
Afterwards, Mr Cardoso said: “Times are hard. Yes we need a bit more lending from banks, more help from them. It all has an effect on us.”
During the tour, Mr Cameron also made reference to his own Honda CRV, which he is prevented from driving now he is the Prime Minister.
Swindon Advertiser 10/02/11
Justin Tomlinson MP, "It is a great honour that the Prime Minister has once again visited Swindon, and championed the immense potential of our town. The constructive and positive visit included a visit to major employer Honda, and spending time meeting local residents at a PM Direct event, answering questions on policy and plans."