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Imminent catastrophe

I AM sure that my dear wife will forgive me for divulging that she has recently reached the 60-year milestone in life, and in the normal course should have been able to collect her state pension after qualifying, like so many others that were born in the 1950s by way of having worked, cared for an elderly relative, and then brought up a family.

However, like so very many other woman of her age, referred to as being ‘WASPI women’ or ‘Woman against State Pension inequality’, who have been failed by the government, she was not informed that the State pension age was to increase to 62, before yet another rise was foisted upon them, making it up to 65.

The government has robbed these woman of five years of pension entitlement that they have paid in for and have rightly qualified to receive, and this blatant unfairness is compounded by the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling, not to mention the difficulties that a woman faces in returning to employment after child bearing, and also the recently highlighted discrimination in the workplace, along with sexual discrimination of various kinds.

That dear old ‘talking shop’, namely the House of Commons, along with its incumbent government, has now been made aware on several occasions about this abominable anachronism, but seems very content to sit blissfully on its laurels in some sort of vain anticipation that, by some unbelievable quirk of fate, the problem is going to resolve itself by continued disregard, and wilful inaction.

I sometimes need to pinch myself in reassurance that I am not living in the Victorian or Edwardian eras, as this sordid treatment of woman seems unjustifiably senseless in this day and age.

When Theresa May assumed power after the demise of David Cameron she ‘made big’ in her opening speech concerning leading a caring and compassionate administration which would deal with the problem of those families that aren’t quite managing. It is more or less certain that our two local Swindon Tory MPs will also be more than aware of the ongoing problem, and quite probably will have a bulging mail box from woman who have been affected by this incompetent change in pension regulations, and furthermore the way that it was unjustifiably rushed in over such a short period of time along, with little or no notice to allow the woman concerned to factor it in, and thus have time reshape their future lives accordingly.

Would it be too much to ask that Theresa May now lives up to her election pledge and do something about the WASPI woman. It has now become a matter of vital urgency if an imminent welfare catastrophe for these woman is to be avoided.

G A WOODWARD, Nelson Street, Swindon

Is it value for money?

So Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson asks if we would be prepared to pay an extra £12 a year to help maintain the present police services and adds that he has actually ‘streamlined’ certain areas.

My response is a clear ‘NO’!

The police precept has increased year on year, as far as I remember, and yet things have got worse. When you consider the crimes committed within our local area (as an example), and the rate that they are seemingly solved, the statement is that, ‘resources are stretched’.

I have no problem with cycling or motorcycling and yet whenever a group of cyclists or motorcyclists need police resources, the police are out in quite large numbers. I do understand the charity aspect of these sort of rides but fail to comprehend the resources used when they could be better employed elsewhere.

Aside from the police, I pay my council tax and yet whenever I have had a problem within my area, no one seems to know who is responsible and I have to do the job for them to find a solution. Needless to say, in my opinion, our village councillors and parish council have done a good job in offering assistance.

Do readers have a solution for improved police service, I wonder?

CHRIS GLEED, Proud Close, Purton

Unfair on OAPs

Perhaps Mrs May, when she has finished attending to everyone but us remaining honest citizens, could spare a thought for the older UK resident (ie: me) trying to negotiate current insurance rates.

Age discrimination is alive and well - no claims made whatsoever in any respect, but big percentage increases all round, year on year. Not happy.

RODNEY JM WIRDNAM, Whilestone Way, Swindon

Park and ride instead

REGARDING the ongoing problems in Rodbourne caused by traffic to the McArthurGlen outlet centre, could a partial solution to this situation be a weekend park and ride bus service from the empty car parks at the Blagrove industrial estate?

This could be an express service using the bus only link from Wootton Bassett Road to Paddington Drive. Shoppers would have a much quicker, less frustrating, journey and fewer cars would clog the Rodbourne area.

I’m sure that, between them, McArthurGlen and the bus companies could work out something of benefit to all.

RICHARD HAILSTONE, Wicks Close, Haydon Wick

Bring prices down

I READ the article in the Adver, January 9, with anger. How dare the Better leisure company presume to pontificate about people not keeping to healthy resolutions?

When SBC ran our leisure centres my family went swimming at the Health Hydro, the Oasis and the Link Centre a number of days a week.

Then Better took over. You could no longer use your Swindon Card for discounts. You had to sign up to a more expensive Better card.

Prices, even with the new card, doubled overnight. My family still has the card, but due to many price hikes since then never go swimming now.

I would love to go swimming daily again. My grandson gets tearful about us being unable to afford Better’s overpriced facilities.

What is more insulting is that the facilities have got worse since this leisure company took over, including the loss of the small pool at the Health Hydro, which we used to teach my grandson swimming.

I say to Better, bring your prices down for people on limited incomes and my family and lots of others will be back!


Help for loneliness

MANY of us look to the turn of the year to embark on a new path of self improvement. Perhaps we aim to join a gym, try to give up smoking or hope to save a little bit of extra money a month in case of emergencies.

I’d ask if we could all add one more to our list of resolutions; to remember those older people who may be alone in Swindon.

The issue of seasonal loneliness is thrust into the foreground during the festive period but we must not forget these people as we get back into our January routines. Even a weekly visit for a cup of tea can make someone’s day.

This is why my charity, The Abbeyfield Society, extends our Christmas offer right through the new year. Companionship at Christmas, where we offer free activities, events and meals to lonely older people becomes Winter Warmth; different name, same premise.

So if you know somebody who may benefit from this, a friend, a relative or maybe even yourself, we would be absolutely delighted to welcome you in to spend time with residents, meet the staff and get involved in the events and activities taking place. Give us a call on 01727 734144 or enquire on our website and we will let you know what’s going on near you.

DAVID MCCULLOUGH, Chief Executive, The Abbeyfield Society

Show some pride

WINTER is well and truly with us, what with snow, wind and a lot of rain. Many resolutions New Year resolutions are soon broken.

On my travels across the town, by car or cycle, I see numerous grass verges and areas destroyed by inconsiderate motorists.

Perhaps there ought to be an award for the Swindon Car Ploughing Championships. Rather than give them a medal the council should either insist the culprits make the verges good again, or if not, issue a fine. These people clearly have no consideration for fellow residents or the appearance of where they live.

The council leader in his recent Adver article made reference to new initiatives in 2018 that, in his own words, “are planned for the town we all love”. I wish I could say the same thing.

Parts of this town look an absolute mess and eyesore. Something needs to be done about it. It’s simply beyond a joke.

Can I suggest the council leader tackles this anti-social behaviour sooner rather than later. Years ago, this would never have been tolerated. Yet now it’s becoming an epidemic followed by sheep. One does it, a lot join in.

For people that do care, it’s unacceptable behaviour.

Simply take PRIDE in the area and town we all live in. Stop parking on grass /verges, curbs, pathways etc. And for cyclists, get off the paths and back on the road or cycle path where they belong.

If people did this, Swindon would look a thousand times better rather than a dump it currently is.

ALAN WILSON, Shapwick Close, Nythe