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Tight-fisted government means council tax rise

Oh dear and not for the first time, the Police and Crime Commissioner is engaging in his annual charade of consulting with the public over the amount of the police precept (SA, January 8).

Currently an average Swindon council tax payer is charged over £200 per year for policing, not a vast sum when compared to the amounts paid to Swindon Borough Council for adult and child services. However, Angus Macpherson continues to cite the fact that Wiltshire remains the third lowest funded authority per head of population – something he has singularly failed to remedy in his eight-year tenure.

The fact is that getting money out of central government is tough, whereas picking the pocket of a council tax payer is much easier. Rather than pretend he has a mandate to levy the increase (only a minority will participate in his consultation) let’s all accept that he really can do whatever he likes, after all the baton is soon to be handed over to yet another political appointee.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

A valuable contribution to Swindon history

On Wednesday night I attended the packed meeting of The Swindon Society where a new book “A Swindon Wordsmith” was launched, We were introduced to George Ewart Hobbs 1883-1946.

I have nothing but praise for the informative and entertaining talk given by the book’s authors Noel Ponting and Graham Carter. No doubt in my mind that George Hobbs’ contributions to Swindon life deserve to be better recognised and celebrated.

This book starts that journey of celebration to list George Hobbs alongside Swindon’s other more-famous-by-the day writers Richard Jefferies and Alfred Williams (and others unknown or forgotten by me here!).

Thank you Noel and Graham for this significant addition to the maintenance and growth of the history of our town under the auspices of The Swindon Society.

Tony Hillier, Brunswick Street, Swindon

Patient experience wasn’t so great

I WAS intrigued by your story (SA, January 10), about a lady from Penhill who lay on her hallway floor for 8.5 hours awaiting the arrival of an ambulance.

In its response, South West Ambulance Service suggested that if Beverley Elmer was unhappy about waiting on her hallway floor for 8.5 hours, she could contact the 21st century, patient experience team.

Well I too have a suggestion. Disband the patient experience team and put another ambulance (or even a first-aid trained taxi driver) on Swindon streets, and actually improve patient experience. Complaints can then swiftly be forwarded to chief executive officer Ken Wenmen, or Tony Fox, his chairman of ambulance service, any one of his six executive directors, any one of his seven non-executive directors, or any one of the 32 governors, who I’m told meet regularly to advise the board of directors.

And if all that lot can’t improve patient experience - well don’t call us, we’ll call you!

John Stooke, Haydon End, Havisham Drive

SWAST must do better

It was horrifying to read what happened to Beverley Elmer. Swindon is a town of more than 180,000 people, which means ambulances and paramedics are generally concentrated there. SWAST really needs to do better.

Denise Yates, Highworth

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