The Cotswold council has been slammed for borrowing too much money after it was agreed they could borrow millions of pounds.

Cotswold District Council agreed to borrow a total of £76.5m at a recent cabinet meeting.

But now Conservatives have called for a referendum on whether or not they should be able to do that. 

MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton- Brown has questioned why the council is borrowing so much and believes the public should have more say in how the money is spent.

He said: “It is not the job of a local Council to borrow and lend money at this scale on your behalf, and we believe you should have a say on it, hence we demand that the Council put these proposals to the electorate for their decision – it is after all your money that they’re playing with.’

Councillor Tony Berry added: “When we all voted in 2019 there was no hint of this massive borrowing spree, and although it has been in subsequent budgets and been questioned by us, this is the first time we’ve had any real information.

“This is just more imprudence from this Council, despite putting up Council Tax by the maximum, taking away the Free Parking and putting all other prices up, their enormous spending on people, consultants and vanity projects, has still left them needing more and they are moving into risking your money to achieve it.  Most households cut back on spending when money is tight – not this lot!”

At the cabinet meeting, the council stated that £49.7m would be spent on green energy investments, £25m on economic development and asset utilisation, and £1.8m on housing.

Deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, Mike Evemy, has defended the borrowing.

He said: “The Liberal Democrats have a long-term plan for rebuilding the council’s finances after the Conservatives left Cotswold District Council with a £1million a year budget black hole after 16 years in control.

“Coupled with the 60% cut to our core Government funding by the Conservatives in government and the impact of COVID-19, we’ve had to make some tough decisions in order to balance our budgets.”

He added: “What Cllr Berry, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and the Conservatives won’t tell you is their alternative to our plans to invest in the District.

“That’s because the alternative is cutting services that people rely on such as the waste service, housing and community grants and sacking people who are working on the Council’s priorities - tackling the climate emergency, supporting our economy and delivering affordable housing.”