Libraries aid social care

WE ARE all set to tackle the budget, says council chief (Advertiser on 7th Jan 7).

As is regularly the case, “tackling” a budget means hurling oneself at the knees of our public libraries and bringing them down.

I can identify a contradiction in some statements from Cllr David Renard and, specifically, this one: “We will build resilience, which will allow us to focus more preventative services on social care issues before they arise and help more people to take care of themselves.”

To that I respond that our public libraries are eminently qualified to foster healthy living, community inclusion and independence in those who are frail, elderly, visually impaired or otherwise disabled.

It seems perfectly legitimate to ask why reducing our public libraries’ ability to function properly and professionally will contribute in any positive way to tackling social care issues before they arise.

By contrast, retaining their current status will save the council money in both the short and longer term.

Ours is not a failing library service, it is one of the best. New statistics reveal that 1, 049,172 people visited Swindon libraries between April 2014 and March 2015.

Further analysis reveals that Swindon came 17th out of 204 councils with regard to library performance and third for the number of active borrowers per 1,000 of population on “engaging with the public” out of 16 comparator authorities.

These are achievements which should be recognised and built upon, Cllr Renard, not discounted or destroyed based on reasoning that just does not add up.

SHIRLEY BURNHAM Arundel Close, Swindon

Pay out for the police

I AGREE whole-heartedly with Angus Macpherson asking us the public for an extra £3.12p a year to help boost his budget.

Why not every household agreeing to, say, an extra £10 per year which should give him an extra couple of millions to play with on the understanding its spent on frontline policemen and women and not wasted on the top cops’ entertainment fund and jollies to see how the West Indies Police force police their patch.

I would gladly pay a extra tenner a year to see more bobbies on the beat but that would not happen.

Instead the money would given back to Westminster to spend on some MP’s duck pond house because we can’t have the duckies getting cold can we?

JOHN L CROOK Haydon Wick, Swindon

Rewarding the powerful

JOHN Stocke and Martin Webb (letters Jan 7) are similar in content in as much as they highlight the way our politicians have used the Honours system to reward the rich and powerful for the money they all donate in return to their party’s funds.

We are in fact the only country in the world who dish out gongs and honours to the rich and powerful to distinguish them from the rest of the population.

The gap between the rich and poor is now at the highest level since the 17th century in real terms.

David Cameron has acknowledged this and has promised to try to do something about it during his term of office.

But then, so will pigs fly.

When he will resign after loosing his Referendum on the Yes vote ?

IAN HUNT Hill View Road Swindon

Support a fantastic cafe

I WAS very saddened to learn that the Roundabout Cafe, in Regent Circus, is to close in March.

This is an excellent cafe serving delicious food prepared to order at very reasonable prices.

With the exception of the professional chef, the rest of the staff are all volunteers.

Several are disabled but obviously enjoy the camaraderie with customers and other staff.

I am sure they will miss attending.

I have asked why this establishment is to close.

Answer: Not enough bums on seats.

It could be saved, I am sure, if sufficient numbers supported this venue.

So come on Swindon shoppers, pop in and try it for yourselves, even if it’s only for a cuppa and a homemade piece of cake or a scone, and give the Roundabout a turnabout.

J BAUEL Penhill Swindon Care fees are ridiculous WITH the Government having gone back on its manifesto pledge to introduce a cap on care fees in April 2016, many people, themselves elderly, will be in shock this week as the bills for increased care home costs for elderly relatives hit their doormat.

Fee increases are being demanded by one care home operator of 15 times the current rate of inflation, hardly justifiable in a time when energy bills and other costs are falling.

I would urge anyone who faces this increase to do two things: 1 Refuse to pay the huge increase and try to negotiate lower rate with the care provider stressing that the rate of increase is unacceptable. 2 Write to the local MP at the House of Commons and press him to call for regulation of this market which is out of hand.

The more people who stand up and refuse to be exploited by greedy care home providers, the sooner this annual robbery will cease.

JANE FRANCIS Wilmot Close The Prinnels Swindon Thanks for the kindness CAN I thank the kind lady who handed in my gold Masonic ring which I lost at The Bayberry on January 6.

This was very valuable to me for a number of reasons, and I’m most grateful to this anonymous lady and to the staff at The Bayberry who safeguarded it for me.

PETER MORGAN Horseshoe Crescent Peatmore Swindon