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Questionable loan

I feel sure many of your readers will have shaken their heads as they read Aled Thomas’s report on the housing company set up by Swindon Borough Council (SA March 20)

The quotation ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’ can justly be applied to the actions of the council’s Conservative administration as they have failed to learn anything from their past forays into financing sectors in which it has little experience or knowledge.

One can only reflect on the saga of Digital City where the council loaned £400k to a company which produced absolutely zilch and ended up costing the taxpayers as the loan was NEVER repaid. This despite councillors promising that it would be and with interest to boot.

Today the council’s own auditor has issued a critical report and questions whether or not the cabinet ever had a clearly defined purpose and intent for the Swindon Housing Company.

The residents of Swindon have been assured the set up costs of yet another £400k will be paid back as it is a loan – sadly we all know that’s a promise which will not be kept.

Coun Gary Sumner joins his colleague Coun Russell Holland in perpetuating the canard that the damning audit report provides “...an opportunity to reflect....to ensure a successful future.” The only thing wrong with this statement is that it flies in the face of the one made by Coun Holland in which he declared that selling off land to private developers “equates to a success for the company as it has brought in money to the council.”

The reality is that Swindon Borough Council does not need a middle man and it most certainly does not need artificial constructs such as the Swindon Housing Company.

Councillors are always telling the people of Swindon the authority needs to make savings and cut service support; at the same time they loan £400k to a newly-formed company which is a waste of scarce resource and reflects poor management by the cabinet.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

We’ve all lost

Des Morgan states with utter conviction in his letter (March 19) that Honda leaving Swindon is categorically nothing to do with Brexit. For such an articulate and authoritative sounding letter writer, Des always seems to have swallowed the official Leave line hook line and sinker.

He chooses to ignore that the Japanese ambassador contradicted the official Honda line a few days after their announcement, as did the editor of the Economist in the same week when interviewed on Radio 4. Both speakers said that Brexit was actually a factor, albeit not the only one.

As in any divorce there’s usually more than one reason, but something becomes the last straw. The Economist pointed out that during the last two years the Japanese have lost trust in Britain and no longer see us as politically stable. They feel betrayed as our government had persuaded them to back it’s official Stronger IN campaign, and was now running down the clock and gambling with a No Deal Brexit.

The Japanese are very polite and would always find a reason which wouldn’t embarrass the partner they are leaving. Even so, Honda themselves moderated their own line later and confirmed that things weren’t so clear cut as they’d first said.

In fact at the Labour List Swindon Brexit Business Summit last September the Honda representative himself described how they were struggling to create 60,000 separate import/export documents to cope with any kind of Brexit. This was when Honda had declared they were committed to Swindon for the foreseeable future.

All this is lost on Des as his heart longs for Brexit and will continue to churn out the same convincing and articulate sounding hogwash from the brexiteer bible.

For example in one of his letters a few weeks ago Des declared that the economic damage from a no deal Brexit was predicted to be less that that of the 2008 banking crash. This is verifiably nonsense. The 2008 crash caused a 1.5 per cent contraction in the economy.

The Government’s own studies have predicted a 2 per cent contraction over the next 10 years in the economy from the very softest of Brexits and up to 8 per cent with the hardest Brexit, and perhaps double that in the very depressed regions.

The findings of these studies were so embarrassing the government refused to publish them for a long time, and a few Brexit secretaries ago (how many have resigned now?) we had the same convincing and articulate sounding Brexiteer hogwash from the government.

The difference is, Des doesn’t have anything to gain by trotting out this misleading nonsense. None of us do. Remainers and Leavers, we’ve all lost.

Steve Rouse, Woodland View, Wroughton

Disillusioned

If the UK fails to leave the EU on March the 29th I will never vote for anything ever again.

Because this will prove that no matter what you vote for the majority vote can be overturned

Gary Darling, West Swindon

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