I write in respect of the changes to housing benefit by the Central Government. Housing benefit is paid to help people pay their rent whether they are in Council, Housing Association or private rented housing.

For people who rent privately, housing benefit is based on need which means the benefit would not cover the rent for a house with a spare room. But if a person lives in a council house, the benefit is paid based on the house lived in. Under the new reform, people of working age (not pensioners) who are deemed to have an extra bedroom will have their housing benefit reduced. They will not be forced to move, but their benefit will be reduced by about 11 per cent.

I accept these changes are going to cause challenges, but reform to housing benefit is necessary. Under Labour between 2000 and 2010 housing benefit doubled to £21bn and without reform it will continue to increase. Many people will have read reports of people claiming £2,000 per week in housing benefit, or the Trade Union Leader Bob Crowe earning over £145,000 per year yet only paying £150 a week to rent his three bedroom Council house. That cannot be right. I believe that most people who work are happy to pay tax to help those in need, but to really help people, services have to be financially sustainable for those receive them and seen to be fair for those who pay for them. It should not be forgotten there are many working people, who are not eligible for benefits, who cannot afford to have a mortgage or pay rent for a house which has more bedrooms than they need.

In Swindon the council is consulting with tenants on options so that we can do our best to manage this time of transition. Anyone who has concerns about these changes should contact the council to find out more.

Russell Holland Councillor Stratton St.Margaret and South Marston Cabinet Member One Swindon, Communities and Housing A pure Brit I felt I had to reply to Mr Small with his attack on Frank Avenell, who represents a large amount of public opinion in this town and country, where even the Labour Party chairman, Ed Miliband admits what I said 15 years ago, that the Labour Party made a mistake by allowing free access to all into Britain. Frank is pure British and, like myself, one of the men who fought for this country during the war to keep it free, but we are not free now, but it is not because of Frank’s tirade. It is the stupidity of our politicians in Westminster. They break the rule book every day of the week.

G Ing Newcastle Street Swindon

...a xenophobe

IN reply to Kevin Small’s letter “Right is wrong” (Letters, June 27), in which he says that Frank Avenell is a racist, reading Mr Avenell’s letters myself, I believe that he is xenophobic rather than a racist (there is a difference between the two).

His letters always seem to blame immigrants for the ills this country has, which is no doubt brought on by the possible reading of the right wing tabloids, in particular the Daily Express and the Daily Mail.

In his letter “Blinkered views”, Mr Avenell accuses the Labour Party of having a policy of branding as racists those people like himself who wish to see a balanced control of immigration. I have never heard of that being part of Labour policy – who gave you that idea, Mr Avenell?

He also says that our prisons are full of immigrants who in his words “should never have been allowed to set foot in this country”. How do you come by that conclusion, Mr Avenell?

The prison population is currently around 80,000 of which 14,000 are reported to be immigrants. That’s hardly immigrants filling our prisons up, is it?

Over many years immigrants have and continue to make enormous contributions to British society. Not all immigrants to this country are Muslim terrorists, knife-carrying thugs or here to take the jobs, houses and benefits of British born citizens, although that is what the right wing tabloids want their readers to believe.

Maybe you should visit the Harbour Project at St Luke’s Hall in Broad Street where you are able to sit and talk to refugees and asylum seekers, all of whom are human beings like you and me.

Ask them why they are here – it is not because of our so-called generous benefits system, because most of them are not entitled to receive benefits. They are here to escape from wars, persecution and torture. What would you do in their position, Mr Avenell?

Visit the Harbour Project, Mr Avenell – you may leave with a different perspective of why just 0.2 per cent of the world’s refugees and asylum seekers around the world choose to start a new life in the UK MARTIN WEBB Swindon Road Old Town Swindon

...not bigots

In response to the letter from Mr Small, about his thoughts on would-be ‘racists’, can he explain the recent events at the temple in Kembrey Street, where ‘thugs’ came from Birmingham and London, to stop a lady getting married to a black man, or the car stopped on the M1 that had at least five people in it, who had an inventory of weapons and ammunition.

He should remember his party had an open door policy which let in around three million people to this country.

Can he say who is paying for the housing costs of those people, the medical care treatment, the benefits needed? Yes the good old tax payer every time. Perhaps he thinks like Gordon Brown that people who question the need of these people to come to this country are all bigots T Reynolds Wheeler Avenue Swindon

Teacher not God

In reply to Mr David Hampshire’s letter, may I point out that the Greek Orthodox Church writings of the earliest book, containing references to Jesus, is in the library of Archbishop Aristarchus the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

This book describes the humanity of Jesus, detailing his family and his birth. It calls him a great teacher and the book is referred to as the Didache or teachings of Jesus. There is no mention of Jesus being a supernatural being or of being resurrected from the dead. His family is mentioned, elder brother James, who ran the Jewish church of Christianity’s teachings, Phillip and two other brothers and sisters.

I also suggest he also reads the Nag Hammadi scrolls and the missing gospels that predate the writings engineered by the emperor Constantine 350 years later.

I had a written correspondence with a ‘man of the cloth’ for some weeks a long time ago. He informed me that why childbirth is so painful is due to the sin of Eve eating the forbidden fruit of knowledge. He never mentioned Lilith who was the very first woman created the same way as Adam out of mud, unlike Eve made from Adam’s rib! If you ask how Lilith herself, the first wife of Adam, became evil, the answer lies in her insubordination to her husband Adam. It is her independence from Adam, her position beyond the control of a male that makes her “evil”.

Think about it – what would we be if we could not tell the difference between good and evil? We would not be human. We would be an animal, no more! Also if we were descended from just one male and one female the offspring would have become insane and deformed. Genetics is a known science.

Many ecclesiastical scholars have agreed that the book of Genesis is basically a myth! Considering that Neanderthal man occupied Europe for 100,000 years before Cro-Magnon man got there from Africa, where indeed was this Garden of Eden?

Janet Woodham Scotby Avenue Swindon

A sweet treat

I know a little belated but I wanted to thank both Swindon Advertiser and Sainsbury’s for the luscious doughnuts that where delivered to my work place on Friday 29th June.

My work place is the head office of a local small charity (White Horse Care Trust) that provides residential and nursing care and accommodation to people who are disadvantaged by learning and sometimes also physical disability.

On doughnut delivery day a few of the Trust resident’s were lucky enough to be visiting the office and so they were delighted to be also offered such a sweet treat and the office accepted them eagerly.

In this current economic climate together with the continuing dull and wet weather the doughnuts really cheered and brightened everyone’s day up.Thank you again for arranging and operating such a lovely treat.

Jan Millichip White Horse Care Trust

CAB survey

I have just read a story on the Guardian website how benefit reforms will disproportionately affect people with disabilities.

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is looking for people to take part in a brief online survey to gather information on how certain groups of people will be financially disadvantaged by the introduction of a universal credit.

They are particularly interested in hearing from people who fit one of the following situations: “if you have a disabled child with a long term health condition or impairment, or are a disabled adult in work, or if you live alone and are disabled adult and not have a carer”.

This information will be used to inform a report that will be published in advance of MPs debate on the proposed changes to take place in the Autumn.

The link is: http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/campaigns/current_campaigns/universalcredit.htm#01 Fabienne Emmerich Upper Stratton