Council is accused of wasting taxpayers money by painting ‘Thank you NHS’ messages on roads to ‘earn brownie points’ instead of fixing potholes
- Swindon Borough Council has painted a ‘thank you NHS’ messages on a road
- Council said the message was painted to show the council’s ‘debt of gratitude’
- However some felt that the council needed to attend to the road’s potholes first
A council has been accused of ‘wasting taxes’ and trying to earn ‘brownie points’ by painting a ‘thank you NHS’ messages on a busy road instead of attending to its potholes.
Swindon Borough Council took to social media to reveal that its Highways Team had painted a thank you message to NHS staff in an effort to show the council’s ‘debt of gratitude’ to the key workers helping fight the pandemic on the frontline.
However while many praised the gesture, others slammed the move and accused the council of ‘jumping on the bandwagon to get brownie points’ while leaving key workers to drive on roads that needed work.
Photos shared online showed the Highways team proudly standing next to their messages that read ‘thank you NHS’ and ‘thank you key workers’ painted on Marlborough Road and Queen’s Drive.
Swindon Borough Council took to social media to share the ‘thank you’ message which had been painted by its Highways Team
While many praised the gesture, some criticised the message and felt the council needed to attend to parts of the road that needed work
The post, which since received nearly 2,000 views, read: ‘Our Highways Team have had a busy morning giving Marlborough Road and Queens Drive a lick of paint.
‘We want to thank every NHS worker, social care worker and other key worker for the great job they have done, and continue to do, for the town. Swindon owes you all a debt of gratitude.’
Following the post, key worker Joshua Palfreeman criticised the move claiming he had encountered ‘countless potholes’ during his commute to work every day.
Mr Palfreeman said: ‘I’m a key worker but yet end up smacking my car into countless potholes on the way there, but it is nice to see where my road tax goes to.’
‘There are lots of potholes in the area, some have been fixed before but because they haven’t been done properly the repair doesn’t last long.
‘The overall road conditions are quite poor compared to other towns and cities I’ve been to.
‘I do encounter potholes quite a lot when I’m driving round, and there is one big one I drive past most days but I have not reported these as I didn’t know how to.’
One user, commenting as Medicus Salutis Sapientia, said: ‘Whilst the gesture is a very nice thing to do, the very roads key workers and everyone else uses to collect essential items is more important.
‘The fact that those same people you are doing this gesture for have paid for this via taxes whilst potentially risking their lives, the money could have been better invested in something that actually helps them whilst thanking them after we have all got through these current situations.’
While Nat Morelli said: ‘I’m sure they all know how much they are appreciated already, and like us, would probably have preferred you spent the time and money fixing the crap roads which are also damaging their cars.
‘Instead of jumping on the wagon to get some brownie points with a FB post.’
The council said they wanted to thank every NHS worker, social care worker and any other key worker for their effort
Elsewhere Simon Tilbury commented: ‘Being an NHS worker, I really think this [is] great and a tribute to those putting their lives at risk. Not me, I work in IT so not frontline NHS.
‘However, I do think they might have been better off fixing the horrific potholes outside the hospital on Marlborough Road that said frontline NHS workers risk their lives and their cars trying to avoid every time they leave the hospital.’
While Ian Caddie said: ‘I think the money could have been far better spent on some PPE to help keep every NHS worker, social care worker and other key worker alive while they are keeping the rest of us alive.’
Swindon Borough Council defended their actions and said those who felt the money could have been better spent were in the minority.
Some social media users felt that while the gesture was nice the money could have been better invested
Elsewhere, others hailed the message as a ‘great idea’, with one stating that it was ‘lovely that someone thought to do this’.
One user, Anthea Hilson, wrote: ‘Well done SBC. Yes there are lots of things you need to do as a council but it’s still lovely that someone thought to do this!! I for one am happy for penny (or whatever small amount the paint cost) of my council tax to be spent on this.
‘Thank you all key workers wherever you are and whatever you are doing for us all.’
While June Beckett commented: ‘What a great idea and I’m sure will be really appreciated by all NHS and key workers. Well done SBC.’
Another user, Kim Main, added: ‘Super proud to work for the NHS and thank you SBC for the kind gesture.’
The council wrote on their page: ‘We knew we would get a few negative posts, they are, as we expected, in the minority.’
However others praised the message and said it was appreciated by all NHS and key workers
Councillor Maureen Penny, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment, said: ‘This small gesture of appreciation was never going to receive universal acclaim, but it wasn’t far off.
‘We know from the hundreds of positive comments we have received from local residents, the delight expressed by the local hospital and the reaction of our own care workers that at a cost of around £50 it was absolutely the right thing to do.
‘As we are sure the Prime Minister would agree, our NHS staff and care workers are going above and beyond to save and protect lives right across the country on a daily basis.
‘If we can bring a smile to their faces as they go into work and give them the boost they need in the ongoing fight against coronavirus it is money well spent.’
MailOnline has contacted Swindon Borough Council for comment.
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