PLEASE keep your letters to 250 words maximum giving your name, address and daytime telephone number - even on emails. Email: letters@swindonadvertiser.co.uk. Write: Swindon Advertiser, 100 Victoria Road, Swindon, SN1 3BE. Phone: 01793 501806.

Anonymity is granted only at the discretion of the editor, who also reserves the right to edit letters.

Can’t buy into hype

My friend and letters sparring partner Steve Thompson describes opponents of the proposed new Museum and Art Gallery as zealots (SA 19 Feb), the definition of which is “a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals”.

I suggest to Steve that the same definition can be applied to those who pursue the idea of a £22.5m white elephant and promote it as the panacea for the town centre’s poor image and yet another catalyst for its regeneration.

In truth, there is little economic advantage to be gained from a new museum and art gallery. The projections and modelling used are more than out of date and have certainly been overtaken by real events which demonstrate that many provincial museums are suffering grievously from local council cuts leading to reduced opening hours, a greater need for volunteers and increased subsidies.

Ed Vaizey MP (not one of my favourite politicians) has a point when he suggests that artworks need to be displayed in order to be viewed and admired, and his off beat ideas may have some merit when considered against the alternative, which is that the public is permitted to view only a small element of the town’s collection.

The proposed SMAG is reliant upon four financial packages – a £5m grant from SBC (promised) a £12m grant from the HLF (applied for) and £10m of private funding (no word yet on that one). In addition the council, or rather the council tax payer, will be required to subsidise the running costs by at least a sum equal to £450k per annum; I think it reasonable to assume theses costs will be higher (they invariable are) and, guess what, those costs will fall to your readers.

With little prospect of a revived Kimmerfields and a town centre which a council commissioned report concluded “its major business occupiers are unhappy with the town centre environment” it really is difficult to buy into the hype that the town needs this white elephant.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Give Martin a try

IT can only be with astonishment that your readers learnt that the UKIP had sacked its fifth leader in 18 months.

There is a big opportunity for Swindon here. It must be local UKIP boss Martin Costello’s turn to be leader. They have run through nearly all the rest of the membership by now. Imagine the benefit to Swindon having one of its sons on BBC’s Question Time once a fortnight.

Steve Thompson, Norman Road, Swindon

We will shell out

I SEE that the KFC shops in Swindon are closed for the time being due to a ‘shortage of chickens from the supplier’.

Now I don’t know ‘eggsactly’ what’s going on but I think that there has been some ‘fowl play’ due to many of the chickens not liking ‘frydays’.

Now there is a shortage the price will increase and the old customer has to ‘shell out’ again!

Chris Gleed, Proud Close, Purton

Is council tax fair?

NEW council tax bills will soon be arriving on our doormats and already some folk are blaming our local councillors for a sharp increase in what most of most of us will have to pay.

Pensioners in particular will find much of their pension increase being absorbed in the extra they will need to find.

Blame should not be directed at our local councils but at Westminster. Our Government’s rhetoric is about creating a fairer society. It’s record, however, is that of making the gap between rich and poor even wider.

In the area in which I live, and based upon an identical house, if that property is occupied by a widow with some savings but whose only income is the basic state pension, she will, after discount, be paying 29.72% of it in council tax. If a couple with a young family lived there with annual earnings of £30k, 8.4% of that would be paid in council tax. Four adults sharing that house, who each have a salary of £35k, would each pay 1.8% of their earnings, while a couple with a joint income of £0.5m living there would only have to find .5049% of that considerable sum. Is there anyone out there who would argue that such a system of taxation has any semblance of fairness?

Can I challenge our local members of parliament to use the pages of your newspaper to let their constituents know whether or not they are content with this current unfair tax regime which penalises those at the lower end of the economic ladder while making life much more comfortable for those who are already doing very well?

Alan Scotford, Chippenham

Letters

Readers letters to the editor. How to have your voice heard: PLEASE keep your letters to 250 words maximum giving your name, address and daytime telephone number - even on emails. Email: letters@swindonadvertiser.co.uk. Write: Swindon Advertiser, 100 Victoria Road, Swindon, SN1 3BE. Phone: 01793 501806.
Anonymity is granted only at the discretion of the editor, who also reserves the right to edit letters.

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