There's an idea

A shortfall of £4 million in essential police services (SA, January 25) could easily be covered by taking out the cost of running the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner which runs to over £7 million per annum.

James Croton

Derwent Drive

Upper Stratton

PCC has nothing new to offer taxpayers

It seems that new police commissioner Philip Wilkinson has nothing new to offer the taxpayers of Swindon and Wiltshire.

His predecessor trumpeted the same tired rhetoric that unless the precept was raised we would see fewer officers on the streets.

Equally that Wiltshire has the lowest precept in the South West. So far, so predictable.

As is the fact that the precept will rise, but only by the amount that doesn't require the PCC to call a referendum.

The reality is that Mr Wilkinson is unwilling to test the notion that the people will support his belief that he needs more money to provide - a better service.

But then, he is a politician.

And yet Mr Wilkinson.

Des Morgan

Caraway Drive

Swindon

Animal welfare fears over food trade deal

This week, my Lib Dem colleague and friend Tim Farron MP shone a bright light on this Government's failure to back Britain's high animal welfare standards in their trade deal with Australia.

The RSPCA have already warned that this deal would "betray the public, farmers and animals" and could set back animal welfare by decades.

British farmers are rightly proud of their high animal welfare and environmental standards. Sadly, the reality is that Australia currently has much lower welfare standards.

These include permitting practices long banned here, such as battery cages for hens, chlorinating chicken carcasses, extreme confinement in metal stalls of pregnant sows, using growth hormone treatment on beef cattle and live animal journey times of up to 48 hours without rest

The, much welcomed, new Animal Sentience Committee also seems powerless to intervene to prevent such undermining of our standards.

Trade deals with countries whose animal welfare and environmental standards are poorer than ours undercuts our farmers ability to sell to the market and undermines the expectations of British consumers.

If sovereignty is to be meaningful, then we need to be able to impact positively on other countries via trade deals, not see our much valued animal welfare, environmental and other standards made meaningless and our farmers put out of work.

In doing this deal, that is exactly what this Government has done - shame on them.

Dr Brian Mathew

Wiltshire Councillor

Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet member for the Environment

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