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What we pay EU

Your correspondent Steve Thompson suggest that it is wrong to assert that the UK makes an annual payment of £350m gross to the EU, but he doesn’t actually say what the figure is; which doesn’t surprise me as the Treasury and the Office for national Statistics (ONS) present different figures even though they claim to be from the same source.

What is true and not disputed by either the Treasury or the ONS is that £350 million – or closer to £360 million – is what we would have paid to the EU budget in 2014, without the rebate the UK gets as a result of the Thatcher government’s negotiations, the rebate amount would have been higher but for the fact that Blair’s government gave it away ‘on a promise’ which never materialised.

As a result of the rebate the UK actually paid around £275 million net a week in 2014 and paid around £250 million net a week in 2016.

The UK is a net contributor to the EU budget paying approximately £8billion per year more than we receive (even allowing for EU funding of some private organisations).

What is important to note is that currently the money the EU spends on projects in the UK is controlled from Brussels, that is, the UK government can only spend the money it receives on projects approved by the EU.

DES MORGAN, Caraway Drive, Swindon

There is a future

I have this Brexit message to the educated young who think they can’t travel in Europe unless they are in the EU. The educated young who think we can’t trade with the EU unless we’re in the EU. The educated young who think they can’t get a job overseas if they’re not in the EU!

Basically many of the educated young are yet to be educated but they’ll cotton on once we’re out. It works well for most of the world and it is those in the EU who are suffering. Ask the educated young in Greece and Spain and Italy how this whole EU thing is going for them.

The EU is a protectionist block working for no one but bureaucrats, big companies and out of date industries that should have reformed long ago.

Consumers in EU countries should have the opportunity to buy goods on world markets at the most competitive prices.

All the EU is doing is keeping the developing world out and making its own citizens poorer.

With Brexit, we will create a fairer, and better trade around the world.


Why tax meat?

I MADE note on the BBC programme The Big Questions that one of the discussions revolved around, ‘Should meat be taxed to save the planet’?

Do those clever intellectuals believe that we are the only country that eat meat and how worldwide governance on that topic would not materialise?

CHRIS GLEED, Proud Close, Purton

No easy solution

I DON’T think opening the bus-gates would have the desired effect on the traffic congestion caused by the popularity of the Designer Outlet. In my view the only thing it would achieve is disruption to public transport.

Being a motorist and living in the area, the volume of traffic can at times be a pain in the neck, however, I wouldn’t like to see the Outlet Village be a victim of its own success.

The concerns of the shop owners, local residents and councillors aren’t without merit, so I did find Councillor Renard’s remark “ Political mischief” a wee crass.

I’m not unsympathetic to their plight, but if some of these retailers decided to relocate, where in Swindon would they go? Due to Swindon’s road network it’s not unusual to get stuck in traffic anytime, any day.

If you did manage to find an area where there is ample parking and less volume of traffic, it would invariably have its own established shops, meaning more competition.

Apart from a very few specialist shops, Rodbourne retailers ply their trade with the residents that live locally. Lack of parking, I would say passing trade is at a premium, but there will always be the occasional visitor who will chance their arm parking on yellow lines.

Oh, there’s always the Designer Outlet car park if you don’t mind a little inconvenience and a minimal charge.

With the railway line being so near - and that’s a problem in its self - nothing short of a planned mass demolition, there’s no easy answer. Things have to be accepted for what they are.

Referring to that old saying “Life is 10 per cent what happens to us and 90 per cent how we react to it”, I can’t think of wiser words better suited to this occasion.

William Abraham, Rodbourne, Swindon

We’re too soft

A CRIME wave is taking place in the Walcot area of Swindon. It seems a group of young people are causing trouble and frightening the local residents.

The problem is that there are no punishments in Britain. Most of the old fashioned punishments have been ruled as illegal by the European Court of Human Rights.

All we have left are fines and imprisonment. Fines are no deterrent because the criminals simply refuse to pay.

Imprisonment is also no deterrent. Criminals just laugh when the are told they are going to prison.

Britain has been a vassal state of the EU for the last 44 years. We have forgotten how to govern ourselves.

By becoming too soft and too liberal the government has lost control of law and order.

STEVE HALDEN, Beaufort Green, Swindon

No room for emotion

What namby-pamby focus group is in charge of Army recruitment these days?

After the £2m fiasco to try and get rid of the well known ‘Be The Best’ slogan, now the latest concern is for people who may have worries about their emotions, sexuality or religion if they join up. It must make serving soldiers and officers bite their tongues in utter frustration.

Here’s a few tips for prospective recruits - ask yourself if you’re prepared for months of hard physical and mental challenges during basic training. Are you willing to be shouted at and ordered around until you are capable and disciplined?

At the end of your (sometimes brutal) training would you be prepared to give your life or take a life for your country?

If you can answer yes to those questions then crack on and bloody good luck to you.

But if you’re concerned that something about you might not quite fit in then go and do something else. There are people out there who just get on with it and deal with the massive lifestyle change and become fantastic soldiers.

They often have ‘different’ or ‘unusual’ and sometimes troubled backgrounds but they still struggle through without endless counselling and support groups.

I know there are instances of bullying and that is totally unacceptable and inexcusable in any walk of life, not just the military. But this constant culture of empathy and understanding has no place in a job where your sole purpose is to defend your country and your fellow soldiers.

If you want to spend your life worrying about emotions, sexuality and religion, go be a social worker. The money is much better and there’s a never ending stream of jobs for you out there.

ROGER LACK, North Swindon