PLEASE keep your letters to 250 words maximum giving your name, address and daytime telephone number - even on emails. Email: Write: Swindon Advertiser, 100 Victoria Road, Swindon, SN1 3BE. Phone: 01793 501806.

Anonymity is granted only at the discretion of the editor, who also reserves the right to edit letters.

Our town needs help

It is so sad to say but the people running our town, whether elected or employed, are either keeping things so close to their chest that even they are unaware of what is desperately needed to vitalise the lifeless body of our centre, or they are so wrapped up in the power that drives them to occupy their positions that they take the political stance of never giving an answer.

How many times over how many years by how many of us do the people with the power need to be told that the town is dying?

If it were an animal it would have been put out of it’s misery years ago. If it were a loved family member they would have been given any amount of care required regardless of cost to put them back to the best bill of health.

Alas we hear the same lame, tired pathetic tosh that the regeneration is imminent and that all the run down, dirty, dangerous, derelict and totally uninviting parts of our centre will soon be safe and bustling because of a new “Public Space Protection Order”. Who are they kidding?

I read in the Adver that at the recent Councils Scrutiny Committee an investor who was encouraged by Forward Swindon to invest as a regeneration programme was happening is now two years down the road and her situation is worse than ever with no sign of any revitalisation.

Can I ask a few things of our council:

1. Get real and listen.

2. If there is no money or outside interest in regeneration, just tell us.

3. Get your heads out of the clouds and prioritise what is needed to grow this town, no one expects it to be turned around overnight but a plan would be good.

And finally drop the millions promised to the hideous new gallery scheme and give the people of Swindon a town they want to go to by slowly creating a pleasant environment.

The last few years has seen our street sellers banished from our town, a lovely new multi storey car park built, next to the other one, a new health centre replacing the other health centre, the tented market removed, and more boarded up units in the bottom of Regent Street and Fleet Street. Exciting, isn’t it?


Slim pickings for pubs

So there is a freeze on alcohol duty in the Autumn Statement by Mr Hammond, but is this a little too late for the thousands of public houses already gone by the wayside due to being priced out of the market by past hideous price hikes by all the governments in power, not just the present one.

Budgets for years have ignored the cries for help from thousands of publicans, both tenants and managers. Breweries have continued to put up prices even after the government in power has hiked up beer duty.

They say it’s to cover costs of brewing beer – the local brewed beer I can understand but not that bought-in by the brewery to put into your pubs, the ciders, wines and spirits.

There will be a drop in costs of £1.15 on a bottle of spirits – no, not really. It may seem like a drop in costs but the costs to make it will rise, and so will the costs to buy it rise. If the yearly tiered increase was still in force the bottle would go up by £1.15 per bottle plus costs, so when the average Joe and Joan pop into the local they will have been double whammed, in turn making a lot of people think ‘is it worth it?’

Again, in turn, people will stay out of the local pubs, which are closing at an average of five per day across the country.

Mr Hammond also pledged to extend the £1,000 discount for business rates discount for pubs with a rateable value of £100,000. This means nothing to the thousands of managers and tenants across the country. It’s a calling to run a managed house for a local brewery – unfortunately the incentives are not there any more. Long gone are the days when you got rewarded for putting in a 15/16 hour day 6/7 days a week. Now its just about profit for the brewery.

JOHN L CROOK, Haydon Wick, Swindon

Outrage for animals

Today I learned of something that really outraged me, and I guarantee will also annoy and anger many other Swindon people who have an empathy with the animals that we are fortunate enough to share this planet with, and own beloved pets as I indeed do.

Today I have been made aware that our local MP for Swindon South Robert Buckland voted with the Government against clauses 60 and 67 of the European charter of rights to the effect that animals are not sentient creatures, and which was carried by the Tory vote in the commons.

This means that according to the Government now all living creatures including our dogs, cats, or any other beloved pet, along with all farmed animals and wild creatures, have no emotions, are oblivious to heat or cold, and thus do not feel any pain.

I am sure that this new revelation from the Tory party and in particular our local MP come as somewhat of a shock to vets in Swindon that labour so hard on our behalf so as to maintain the health and well being for our beloved pets for as long as possible.

Finally, despite pledging to the House of Commons previously that it was the Government’s intention to transfer European rights laws directly in to English law, it is now apparent that large parts of it are being deleted, which include rights for the elderly, and for people in the workplace.

However, the Government has said that any of the rights that are deleted will be replaced at a later date, but as some of us must surely know from experience they cannot be trusted, over this or anything else including both Brexit and the economy.

GA WOODWARD, Nelson Street, Swindon

A question of gender

An utterly ridiculous woman called Natasha Devon who was actually part of the Government has said we should no longer call people “girls” or “ladies” if they happen to be female.

Oh. My. God. Where will this pathetic clap-trap end? Apparently it’s patronising and reminds them of their gender and a whole host of other stupid reasons she put forward, which I will not bother to repeat.

Do you people who are so desperate to wipe out gender classifications not realise one simple fact? Ladies have babies! (Unless they choose not to).

Ladies have different bodies to men. Millennia of evolution have seen to this. So sorry about that, as I’m a man. I didn’t make the rules. Changing the way we label people due to their sex is a very new and very aggressive policy advocated by a tiny minority of society.

Let’s get rid of the words “male” and “female” too so that when anyone gets robbed, mugged, assaulted or murdered, the police have to issue an appeal stating that they’re searching for someone of indeterminate gender who may or not have had reproductive organs.

These same people will gladly champion any kind of victory in any scenario by “women” yet want the genders merged into one. Utterly ridiculous and yet we let these people into power and allow them a voice.

ROGER LACK, North Swindon

Worries over museum

I do so admire Coun David Renard’s chutzpah and congratulate him on his absolute confidence in his opinion on the location of the ‘wanted by the few and not the many’ Museum and Art Gallery (SA 23 Nov).

According to Coun Renard, the proposed museum and art gallery needs to be on what we all know as the surface car park between the Magistrates Court and the Wyvern.

But hold on – a few short months ago the ‘proper location’ was to be the site of the Wyvern car park, demolished just for that purpose. Indeed, the council said ‘the plan is for a new museum and art gallery to be eventually located at that site when funding is secured as the whole area is transformed’ and in 2013 they claimed the demolishing of the car park to be a key element to the project, known as the Kimmerfield development. Ho ho.

In truth, what we see in David’s article is the same ‘guff’ we got from his predecessor – it’s ‘my way or nothing’ and any suggestion that he and his band of acolytes could be wrong is dismissed with the sniffy air of someone who does consider the taxpayer to be savvy enough to have a view, far less the right view.

It was two years ago that the chairman Robert Hiscox said: “The difference between where we are now and where when the last bid was turned down is momentum.”

Might I suggest two years on it pretty much seems we are still seized by inertia?

Just as an aside, has anyone heard who the private investors will be stumping up the difference between the £12 million sought from the HLF and £5million purloined from the Swindon taxpayers? And please could someone assure me that we are not relying on one of Coun Garry Perkins phantom investors to plug the gap!

Again, Mr Hiscox was charged with raising the funding as soon as the SMAG had charitable status.

DES MORGAN, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Supply is important

Justin Tomlinson (Advertiser, Nov 24) gives a long list of how the Budget will boost demand in the economy.

He tells us that Labour would boost consumer demand even further by borrowing an additional £500 billion.

Economics is all about supply and demand. In economic terms Labour and Conservatives are identical in that they only consider the amount of demand in the economy.

Neither of the two major parties ever consider the supply side of economics.

There is nothing in the budget to support manufacturing.

Both major parties are blind to the fact that it is only manufacturing industry that creates wealth in the British economy.

STEVE HALDEN, Beaufort Green, Swindon

Impact of alcohol

Good news for pubs in the article in the Adver of November 24 on page 16 – government to demonise excessive alcohol consumption by most vulnerable people.

To quote from the Chancellor, this “Is all too often through cheap, high strength, low quality products especially so-called white cider”.

What do governments expect vulnerable people to drink after this ruling? Methylated spirits?

These well paid do-gooders in parliament with their bars subsidised by taxpayers seem blind to the unintended consequences of their legislation.

Personally I hardly ever consume alcohol since pubs were made universally smoke free, but I have sympathy for those who may buy white cider because it is affordable to vulnerable people who do not have income anywhere near those enjoyed by our law-making politicians.

Also its is about time that the blanket ban on smoking in all licensed premises was lifted, or are we all too vulnerable and unable to decide what is an activity which used to be part and parcel of pub life?

NOEL GARDNER, Carlisle Avenue, Swindon