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Deter the fly-tippers

IN response to the article in the Advertiser about fly-tipping, might it be better if the council had a suggested donation for picking up waste? If people could not afford this amount, they could pay less. This would prevent fly-tipping and the council being called out to remove their rubbish.

Mary Rogers, Beverstone Grove, Lawn

Give us all the facts

I ATTENDED the parish council meeting on January 17, set to agree the forth coming budget. Details were provided by means of a projection onto the hall wall, but no hard copies were available.

There was a proposal to purchase three new mini road sweepers, with a provision for a fourth if required. The cost of each sweeper was put at £6,000. There is a budget for the cleaning, and cutting of grass areas, etc of £380,000, but it was not stated whether these services would be provided by parish employees or by sub contractors. If it is contractors, why can’t they provide their own equipment?

There is also a budget for the refurbishment and upkeep of the Penhill Community Centre, The John Moulton Hall, and also for the Pinetrees Centre and some play areas, but no mention was made of the Gorse Hill Community Centre. Why?

There is provision for £9,000 for councillors’ allowances. As most parish councillors are also borough councillors, why do they need this extra remuneration?

The budget was passed without amendment.

Unfortunately as a parishioner, I had no prior knowledge of this information and as public questions precede the formal meeting I was not able to ask questions. How can I obtain a hard copy of this parish budget?

As there is a lack of engagement by parish councillors with their precept paying public, does this auger well for the future or are we just expected to silently pay up?

Terry Reynolds, Wheeler Ave, Swindon

Reporting is skewed

LAST week in America two marches took place. One was the annual Pr- Life March for Life, which drew a crowd estimated at around 100,000 in Washington DC in which President Donald Trump became the first sitting president ever to address the march, and the other, the following day, was the Women’s March in multiple locations across the States and in London to highlight Women’s Rights and to protest against Donald Trump, to mark his inauguration one year ago.

I don’t suppose many people in this country were aware of the pro-life march, as it received hardly any coverage in mainstream media, whereas the Women’s March was covered very fully on both sides of the Atlantic.

Why was one march considered newsworthy and the other not? Perhaps it was because the liberal leaning media in the West,did not want to propagate a view that would run contrary to their own ideals,and consequently practised censorship by selectivity.

I hope that people will not be fooled by this deliberate skewing of the news for a liberal agenda that would further undermine and dismantle the social fabric of our nation.

Steve Jack, Parsonage Court, Highworth

EU was not to blame

I SEE that Steve Halden is yet again trying to blame the EU for everything, this time claiming that their requirement for governments to put contracts through an EU wide tendering process is the reason for the demise of Carillion.

Mr Halden claims that three UK based contracts awarded using the EU tender process - the Aberdeen Western bypass, the Royal Liverpool Hospital & the Midland Metropolitan Hospital - contributed to Carillion’s demise, but he fails to include a further contact in Doha the Capital of Qatar, which is well outside the reaches of the EU.

Mr Halden further fails to mention that EU contacting rules didn’t forced Carillion to tender an unrealistic price for these projects; also it was not EU directives that forced the UK Government into seeking a fixed price tender which transfers all unforeseen costs on to the contractor, instead of a shared risk approach, or the fact that the UK Government can set a weighted criteria for these contracts which can include price, technical characteristics, environmental aspects, the tendering company’s solvency and the viability of their tender price.

Equal access to all markets, including tendering for public contracts was one of the goals of the Treaty of Rome, but EU directive controlling public tendering did not come into reality until 1985, and then this only covered public utilities. In 1992 it was expanded to all public sector contracts and then as today the directive states “lowest cost or most economically advantageous”.

In the UK competitive tendering was first introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Government in 1980, well before any EU directive. Whilst I would love to blame Maggie for Carillion’s demise, the fact is, poor management decisions, the company overstretching itself and submitting unviable tenders was the real cause.

Sadly, it has left public services, small business and thousands of workers, uncertain about their future.

Kevin Small, Jennings Street, Rodbourne, Swindon

Make payments weekly

I WAS interested in your article that said that the new Universal Credit system was causing 76% of people on that benefit to get into rent arrears.

The Swindon Tenants Campaign Group led by Martin Wicks have fought a long campaign against these disastrous new regulations.

There is an old saying “if its not broke, don’t fix it”. The old system worked much better. There are two ways to improve the system. Firstly housing benefit should be paid to the landlord directly, as was the case previously, and which worked very well. Secondly payments should be made weekly. It is obvious that if you are on a tight budget then it is much easier to manage with weekly payments.

These are two very simple and easy ways to improve Universal Credit. They would cost the Government nothing to implement and would save a lot of hardship and worry for the working class.

Terry Hayward, Burnham Road, Swindon

Say nothing at all

ONCE again the public were forced to listen to David Dumblby, sorry Dimbleby, forcing the programme to allow him to put his views forward.

He is the administrator of the programme, not the person who poses the questions. The questions should come from the audience.

He is too fond of listening to his own voice in the mistaken idea that his view is the only acceptable view.

The New Tory Lady was quite good, apart from the time when she started to play the political game.

Andy Burnham was one of the best on the show, together with an older gentleman banker.

They told the truth in just about everything. Andy was straightforward and admitted that Labour, when he was in power, made many of the same mistakes as the current government.

As for the audience, well again it was pretty obvious that it was an audience picked by the BBC for its views with a left leaning. Its about time that the BBC learnt to be a little more neutral when it comes to this programme. Some of the them couldn’t read a balance sheet if it was put in front of them.

All a lot of them wanted was to apportion blame. They wanted to hang someone out to dry.

Carillon is a company not owned by the Government. They were thought to be sound - otherwise no Government would have given them these contracts.

It’s very easy to be clever after an event and even easier to apportion blame when you don’t know what you are talking about .

My advice to the audience? Shut up and don’t open your mouth. If you do you, you confirm you are a fool. If you keep it shut people wont necessarily know that.

David Collins, Blake Crescent, Swindon