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It doesn’t add up

Tom Seaward’s excellent article on the plight of 19 year old Naomi Little raises a number of questions.

According to the narrative Naomi lives in a flat for which she pays a rent of £83.32 a month.

Naomi and her partner receive £910 per month in benefits. Naomi applied for Universal Credit in December of 2016 and received her first payment in March 2017 - a period of three months; during the ‘interim’ period we are told she accrued a rent debt of £1,900.

Now, I admit that maths was never my strong suit but to accrue a debt of such an amount would suggest that either the rent figure is incorrect or the debt was built up over a longer period of time than the ‘interim’ period’.

Whichever it is I am not sure how the application of Universal Credit has created the situation in which Naomi finds herself.

Naomi says she is suffering from stress brought on by her rent arrears (I would be stressed if I owed £1,400) and the inconvenience of dealing with UC which she has been receiving for over 10 months with no seeming problems.

She is unhappy with the Council, although she does admit that in the past “they’ve really helped me a lot”.

I share many of the stated concerns about the application of Universal Credit, clearly articulated by Martin Wicks in this paper, but frankly this story doesn’t seem to reflect a problem with the benefits system but rather a sad indictment of the breakdown in family life and familial responsibility for a vulnerable 19 year old daughter.

As for the fact she has to pay down her debt at the rate of £12.50 per week from her benefits, I am sure it has escaped her notice that means her debt is actually being paid off by taxpayers, something I doubt she has ever been.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Teach parents CPR

With the greatest respect to the doctor who thinks children over 10 should be taught CPR in school, I think it would be a very good idea for the parents to be taught it, and have the opportunity to allow their children to have the training with them.

As a retired teacher, I think we have to be very careful what we teach children in school.

They are vulnerable and some ten year olds could probably cope, but not all.

Mary Rogers, Lawn, Swindon

Around in circles

Roger Hayes asks why Greenbridge roundabout was not redesigned as a second ‘Magic Roundabout’ model.

Has he forgotten that there was already a second one in Swindon, at Bruce Street Bridges, and for some inexplicable reason that one was done away with?

The result of that change has been more and more congestion.

Will they ever learn?

Chris James, Wanborough