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Austerity unnecessary

Your article “Council tax rise is tough for some” (February 26th) is a real eye opener. The politicians who have imposed a 5% increase last year and another 5% increase this year on council tax but continue to follow the austerity policy of cutting services are the same people who promised to deliver “value for money” when first elected.

For a rich country like the UK to say they cannot afford services for vulnerable people, keep roads free from potholes, keep drainage systems cleared and force impossible budget restrictions on essential services like the NHS, education and housing is beyond belief.

Austerity is completely unnecessary as the government has the ability to “create” money at will. In the financial meltdown 2007/8 a massive £450 billion bailout for the banks was arranged with no problem by quantitative easing. Also the government can find money for wildly extravagant white elephant projects such as HS2, Trident and Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

The government claims that tax raised does not cover expenditure. However they are quite content to let multi-national corporations and the super-rich off the hook to pay less tax through the use of clever accounting firms arranging tax avoidance measures and the use of overseas tax havens and secret accounts.

Government is not a household so does not have to go broke when expenditure exceeds income. It has the power to raise whatever is needed through issuing gilts and other borrowing. The government is the ultimate creator of money.

What is needed is a Green or Peoples Quantitative Easing or Green New Deal to raise the billions needed to mend our breaking public services and consign austerity to the dustbin of history.

Bill Hughes, Goddard Avenue, Old Town, Swindon

Share the pain

Our council tax is going up by a hefty increase regarding the rate of inflation, thereby wiping out the meagre rise in the lowest state pension per ex-salary in Western Europe.

May the councillors bury their heads in everlasting shame for such duplicity on the most vulnerable members of our society. For all their doublespeak, the two Swindon Conservative MPs cannot escape my anger. What have they done about this disgraceful attack on the retired on fixed incomes, not to mention people with young families where every penny counts. What about a drastic curb on their extortionate salaries and pensions? That includes the two Swindon MPs and the fat cats running the council. If they care that much about the people who elect them, why don’t they share the financial pain they impose open us all?

Bill Williams, Merlin Way, Covingham, Swindon

Trade disagreement

Molly Scott-Cato is an MEP and as such I expect her to defend the EU and its institutions (SA 21 Feb). However, I also expect her to acknowledge the fact that remaining in both the Single Market and Customs Union is incompatible with leaving the EU, a point confirmed by the EU’s chief negotiator Michael Barnier.

The UK Government has been consistent in its approach to the EU and has indicated that what it wants is a trade agreement which allows for frictionless movement of goods and services between the UK and the EU member states. That such an agreement is proving elusive to achieve can be laid squarely at the door of the EU negotiating team; in simple terms they can’t and won’t allow such an arrangement as it would undermine their beloved federal European project.

I wonder how many Honda Jazz owners are aware that thanks to the EU they pay an import tariff of 10% on their car, or understand the dynamics of car pricing which is used by companies such as Honda. A think tank might well claim that car prices could (and the operative word is could) rise by £2,372 if (and there’s another key word) a trade deal is not agreed. But here’s a thought which may well be keeping German, French, Italian, Czech and Spanish car workers awake in their beds at night; if the EU doesn’t agree a mutually beneficial trade deal the cost of cars from those countries will increase by at least 10% (that’s the WTO tariff rate) which would affect sales of BMW, Mercedes, Seat, Volkswagen, Fiat, Skoda to name but a few.

Politicians from the major manufacturing countries in the EU as opposed to the bureaucrats will adopt a more pragmatic approach to the formulation of a trade agreement as their individual electorates will not allow the EU to destroy their livelihoods for the sake of an ideological concept.

The downside for Molly Scott-Cato and a host of UK MEPs is that they will be handed their P45s and have to seek alternative employment. Doubtless their friends in Brussels will find them a job.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Unfair damages

UKIP has to pay £100,000 in damages relating to comments made at a UKIP conference in 2014 about the party’s opposition to the sexual exploitation of young girls in Rotherham. While trying to bring this important issue to the notice of the public UKIP ended up in a defamation trial.

UKIP was held to be responsible for what was said at the UKIP conference. This meant that UKIP was liable for a proportion of the damages payable.

The sexual exploitation of the young girls in Rotherham was an issue that needed public debate. UKIP’s genuine efforts to get justice for those young girls has cost the party £100,000.

Steve Halden, Beaufort Green, Swindon

Stadium concerns

REGARDING the new speedway stadium. I would think nearly all Swindon supporters would like to maintain the track at least as big as Belle Vue, 350 metres and widening the Swindon track would make it better than now. Making it smaller the same as Cardiff is no good for racing.

If you want British riders to be world leaders you have to be the same as in Poland. Not go back in time where all tracks are fit-ins with other sports. Now why not put the dog track inside the speedway track? Then there would be more than enough room for a 350 metre track and have wide bends.

If you watch racing from Belle Vue hardly any riders fall when they get near each other because they have room to move rather than fall off. Also you would get no water run off from dog to speedway tracks as you get now. And with new drains the dog track would not suffer. 

Ray Chivers, via email

Devaluing democracy

Bill Williams, having helped set the country on the road to ruin (in my opinion, but obviously not in his), wants all remainers to stop expressing an opinion. Doesn’t he understand the meaning of democracy?

He says, and I am sure that this is his genuinely held belief, that he voted to give his children, grandchildren et al a better life. But he has deprived them of right to vote on the matter. Doesn’t he understand the meaning of democracy?

He goes on to say only foreign and non dom millionaires like Murdoch, Dacre, Desmond and dare I say it Putin should be allowed to influence Brexit. Doesn’t he understand the meaning of democracy?

May I ask him after the impending schism in the UKIP will he join the “populist” group or the fascist group? The majority faction or the minority faction?

Steve Thompson, Norman Road, Swindon

Lesson to be learned

I visited Ely late last year. Ely, in Cambridgeshire, is a rural town with a population of just over 20,000 and not unlike Devizes and other small towns in Wiltshire, with its independent shops and markets.

A major difference is that all of Ely’s six town centre car parks are free all days for short term (3-4 hours) and long term (all day) parking. Guess what - over the weekend we were there the car parks were full and the town busy with both locals and tourists. Ely also has a Tourist Information Centre co-located in a visitor attraction. I also understand that in Wisbech (population 31,500) nearby most parking is free. Are there wider economic lessons rather than short term interests to be learned by Wiltshire Council?

John Gaca, Great Western Close, Devizes


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