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Fracking alarm call?

Following the tremor which people experienced on Saturday, it did occur to me that it could be connected to fracking.

This practice has been scientifically proven to be dangerous for the environment and people’s health as well as causing tremors and earthquakes.

The time has come for this government and all the MPs who voted for it to now accept how unpopular and dangerous it is and look towards environmentally friendly ways of energy production such as wind farms and solar power.

The fact that the tremor was felt over such a large area speak volumes and should serve as a warning to all of us.

Our two local MPs who voted for fracking should no doubt be aware of what happened.

Peter Bates, address supplied

No tax is ever fair

Alan Scotford asks if council tax is fair. No system of tax is fair and local taxes are doubly unfair.

Consider local income tax. In my mind there are two main objections.

The first is that the more money you have the less you pay in tax. It is widely held that the Duke of Westminster pays less tax than his gamekeeper.

The second is that the government would have to collect it and it is doubtful that they could keep their sticky hands off it. The present problems of funding in local government are caused by the government stopping subsidies.

What about a flat payment paid by all wage earners. Good idea?

Good God man, are you too young to remember poll tax!

Steve Thompson, Norman Road, Swindon

Getting less for more

Being a child of the 1950s and having grown up in Swindon’s 1960s and 70s I can recall that my parents paid the local authority rates annually and then, like everyone else, were assured that in a decent society we had public toilets, libraries, street cleaning and sports facilities, care for the young and elderly, schools, water and sewerage, fire fighting, and policing, which would all be taken care of as an unquestionable matter of course and without fail.

It was seen as being part and parcel of being a post war decent society for all.

Any failure to provide what were seen as being essential local facilities in Swindon would have been unthinkable, or in any other town or city up and down the land for that matter, to the point of being incredulous.

However, all this seemed to change in the next decade - which I refer to as the ‘hateful 80s’ - when for some reason, and many would say out of sheer spite towards the working, less- well-off classes, the Thatcher regime of the day decided to make major change by bringing in the much-hated and iniquitous Poll Tax.

Suddenly the system that had worked so very well for so many years during my parents’ time was thrown into chaos, which was in turn to bring about (with a little bit of tinkering) another system of punitive injustice which is now called the Council Tax.

In the halcyon days of my parents it would also have been an unthinkable scandal for any essential, local authority service to be farmed out to for profit contractors such as Capita, which without doubt have added to financial woes of local authorities, and instead of being the prescribed cheap alternative solution have turned out to be anything but.

Now, the fifth richest country on the planet, which is much more well-heeled than in those post war decades, is allegedly not able to finance local authority services any longer.

Should not we all be asking the fundamental question as to why we now have inferior or much-reduced local essential services and facilities in comparison to those that my parents took for granted in a decent, well-run society in those post war decades of local authority rating systems?

Despite the ever increasing amounts of council tax we are asked to pay up and down the land (with Swindon being one of the worst), we are accustomed to expecting less and less for it.

Mr G A Woodward, Nelson Street, Swindon

Simple tribute to Terry

I WOULD like to pay tribute to the man most of us knew only as Terry.

I first met him when he was at Burderop Hospital and he was trusted to go to the Ellendune to do the shopping. Even after he moved to Old Town there was always a cheery wave from him and a lovely smile.

I remember him being allowed to stand on the platform at the station to watch the trains.

Terry, you always made me smile and your gentle nature shone through. I will miss seeing you around.

Sally Parker, Wroughton

MEPs could be jobless

Molly Scott-Cato is an MEP and as such I expect her to defend the EU and its institutions (SA, 21 Feb).

However, I also expect her to acknowledge the fact that remaining in both the Single Market and Customs Union is incompatible with leaving the EU, a point confirmed by the EU’s chief negotiator Michael Barnier.

The UK government has been consistent in its approach to the EU and has indicated that what it wants is a trade agreement which allows for frictionless movement of goods and services between the UK and the EU member states. That such an agreement is proving elusive to achieve can be laid squarely at the door of the EU negotiating team; in simple terms they can’t and won’t allow such an arrangement as it would undermine their beloved federal European project.

I wonder how many Honda Jazz owners are aware that thanks to the EU they pay an import tariff of 10% on their car, or understand the dynamics of car pricing which is used by companies such as Honda.

A think tank might well claim that car prices could (and the operative word is ‘could’) rise by £2,372 if (and there’s another key word) a trade deal is not agreed. But here’s a thought which may well be keeping German, French, Italian, Czech and Spanish car workers awake in their beds at night; if the EU doesn’t agree a mutually beneficial trade deal the cost of cars from those countries will increase by at least 10% (that’s the WTO tariff rate) which would affect sales of BMW, Mercedes, Seat, Volkswagen, Fiat and Skoda, to name but a few.

Politicians from the major manufacturing countries in the EU, as opposed to the bureaucrats, will adopt a more pragmatic approach to the formulation of a trade agreement as their individual electorates will not allow the EU to destroy their livelihoods for the sake of an ideological concept.

The downside for Molly Scott-Cato and a host of UK MEPs is that they will be handed their P45s and have to seek alternative employment, doubtless their friends in Brussels will find them a job.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon


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