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No legal basis

Adam Poole asserts that the UK has ongoing financial commitments particularly in relation to unfunded pensions which we are liable to pay after we have left the political construct of the EU (SA 29 Dec).

He wilfully ignores the fact that the EU is unable to produce any legal basis for any ongoing payments and that the UK has already adduced there to be no legal obligation to pay anything once we leave.

However, the Prime Minister has intimated that the UK is willing to accept a moral obligation (with which I do not agree) to contribute to the EU budget for a limited period of time after the UK leaves.

This offer forms part of the ongoing negotiations between the EU and the UK.

But Adam should be in no doubt that there is no legal basis for any ongoing payments whatsoever, and nor should there be. Article 50 simply doesn’t mention any termination or ongoing payment, and for good reason.

The EU never ever thought a member would want to leave and didn’t make any provision in the event that one would.

As for pensions, the EU wants the UK to continue to pay for pensions in perpetuity for all EU employees as opposed to say the pensions of any UK national.

The EU also wants the UK to pay a sum to cover ‘contingent liabilities’ which may or may not ever occur!

What Adam ignores is that the UK has always been a net contributor to the EU budget – that is, it pays into the system more than it receives.

The old chestnut about ‘nearly 50% (it’s currently 43%) of our exports being bought by the EU’ ignores two facts. The first is that the EU figures include goods passing through European ports in transit to the rest of the world (the Rotterdam effect) secondly, the EU is buying less from the UK that it has done previously and thirdly the UK is buying more from the EU (in particular Germany where the trade difference is a cool £26 billion) which suggests Germany would be pretty hacked off if it was to be penalised with trade tariffs!

DES MORGAN, Caraway Drive, Swindon

It’s just plain silly

I have met Terry Hayward on several occasions and I know he is not a stupid person.

Unfortunately he has written the silliest letter I have seen in your pages, “Path of Freedom” SA 3/1/18.

He writes that the EU referendum shows that a majority of Britons have chosen the path of freedom, i.e. leaving the EU.

This is not true, it shows that the majority of those who voted want to leave the EU. In fact only 27% of the population voted to leave. A democratic vote to leave but not a majority of Britons.

He writes British sovereignty is lost every time a new treaty is created - this is not true as all new EU treaties must be ratified by a democratic referendum of electors.

He writes that criminals from the EU cannot be deported - this is untrue, they can be and are regularly.

He quotes the figure of £350m gross payment to the EU. This is the figure from the discredited “bus” and is a lie that he has swallowed whole.

STEVE THOMPSON, Norman Road, Swindon

Show care all year

As per usual, in the run up to Christmas there is a tremendous amount of attention on the plight of homeless people and homelessness in both the local and national media/press.

Also the work done by certain individuals surrounding homelessness has been well highlighted in the Advertiser which has to be congratulated.

But let’s remember homelessness is twelve months of the year and not just twelve days.

MARK WEBB, Old Town, Swindon

Keep their innocence

How I agree with Bill Williams’ view on ‘Common Sense is Gone.’

Do children really need teaching sex and transgender education at such a young age? I think not.

They will soon have no innocence left while young.

I’m sure there are other Adver readers who would agree with us.

JEAN BEALE, Highclere Avenue, Swindon

Plastic opportunities

2018 and a new year brings new challenges. The news that China will no longer take the UK’s plastic waste should be taken as an opportunity by Wiltshire Council and not regarded as a threat.

The idea that we send our plastic waste half way around the world always seemed ludicrous, especially as there was the suspicion that it would then quite likely just be thrown into the sea, causing more problems.

Exporting our waste problems was never going to work, not least because the seas are all connected.

We should be thanking Sir David Attenborough for highlighting the problem in the recent editions of his BBC Blue Planet 2 series.

The internet is alive with examples of waste plastic being turned into more durable road surfaces and for use in house construction.

We used to regard Great Britain as the world’s most inventive nation, now it must be time to address the plastic waste problem and show that inventively we can still punch above our weight.

Here in Wiltshire thousands of tons of our plastic waste have been sent overseas.

Wiltshire Council should now grasp the nettle and become an exemplar, by promoting the sustainable use of waste plastic.

We could certainly do with roads that don’t have potholes and houses that are cheaper to build, and if recycling and using our plastic waste here at home helps us to do this, then why on Earth not?

DR BRIAN MATHEW, Liberal Democrat Wiltshire Councillor