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The message is ‘stay’

Last week’s Wiltshire Council meeting was important for three key reasons:

Firstly, despite Lib Dem opposition, funding Wiltshire Council’s budget means residents face a council tax increase of more than four per cent, well above inflation.

The escalating costs of social care and special educational needs couple with utterly inadequate financial support from the government, is driving this. So much for the Conservative promises of fair funding for Wiltshire.

Secondly this meeting marked the anniversary of the council supporting my proposal to declare a Climate Emergency. Some good work has been done in the last year, but it is all far too slow.

That message was echoed by statements and questions to the Council from members of an 80 strong demonstration of the Wiltshire Climate Alliance. The Climate Emergency is real and urgent.‎ Wiltshire Council and our Government must pick up the pace of response.

Finally, this was our first meeting since Brexit became inevitable.

Along with Lib Dem Councillor Group Leader Cllr Ian Thorn, I introduced a motion to get our council to encourage more EU citizens currently resident in Wiltshire to stay.

There are around 10,000 such residents working in everything from farming to maintaining key public services.

The government estimates their economic value to Wiltshire alone in excess of £17 million a year.

Of course, their value is not simply as doctors, nurses and care workers, or scientists and engineers with companies such as Dyson, and supporting our vital tourism industry, but as friends, family and neighbours.

It was good to see the motion accepted by 80 per cent of the councillors present and voting. ‎The very clear message from Wiltshire Council to our EU residents is “please, do stay”.

I hope it is one they hear and will act upon.

Dr Brian Mathew, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for North Wiltshire & Wiltshire Councillor for Box & Colerne

A little piece of magic!

Like your correspondent John Stooke (SA 2nd March) I too remember the experimental layout of what was to become affectionately known as, ‘The Magic Roundabout.’

Although it appears to be complicated, it is cleverly simple. The layout has not changed in its lifetime – why – because it works. I have enjoyed teaching students to use it for the past 20 years and a few years ago, it prompted this little poem.

Ode to the Magic Roundabout (Infamous worldwide)

Give way to the right and don’t rush your approach, said a man next to me as I drove. But it’s full of mad people I shouted aloud, Oh God, Oh Look, Let’s go home !

You can go where you like came a gentle reply, go there, then there, but don’t dash, That’s weird, I said in a matter-of-fact tone, are you sure, just there, no I’ll crash !

They go like the clock except one in the middle, and that one, it goes t’other way, Just keep your eyes right and go with the flow, it’s simple, pure logic I say.

You’ll be telling me next that it works as by Magic, this strange roundabout of much fame, Of course, so it does, said the man teaching me, that’s why we gave it it’s name !

Neil Maw, Weedon Road, Swindon

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