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Recent updates

  • Article: Dec 7, 2021
    By Unison

    'Protect Pupils - Protect Education' Online Day of Action on 9 December.

    UNISON, GMB, NASUWT and Unite the Union are joining parents and staff in an online day of action on Thursday 9th December. This is to tell the government to bring in additional mitigations to help keep pupils in England safely in school.

  • Article: Dec 7, 2021

    For the first time in our history, we'll be celebrating a monarch's platinum jubilee in June. The four-day party starts on June 2nd. Local councils, community groups and individuals will be wanting to organise events, and the time to start planning is now. There's a certain amount of bureaucracy involved, especially for a large event. Wiltshire Council has produced clear guidance on how to organise your celebration. That'll be on the WC website shortly, but here's a preview:

  • Article: Nov 28, 2021

    Wiltshire Council's Conservative administration is to press ahead with an eastern bypass for Melksham, despite a majority voting against the scheme in the recent consultation. According to the report for Tuesday's 'cabinet' meeting "There were 396 (52%) questionnaire responses that did not support the need for an improvement to the A350 at Melksham and Beanacre, and 331 (44%) that did support the need for an improvement." Note the continuing use of the word 'improvement' for the road-building. Clearly as far as the Tories are concerned anyone who doesn't support the big new road must be of unsound mind, for who could oppose an improvement? The report goes on to overstate the bleeding obvious: "From the questionnaire responses there was a clear divergence of opinion between those who supported the need for an improvement to the A350 and those who did not."

  • Trowbridge Town Hall
    Article: Nov 26, 2021
    By WC (edited)

    Trowbridge's historic Town Hall will be one of the projects to benefit from the government's Future High Streets Fund.

    The Grade 2 listed building has been allocated £8,176,810, of the £16,347,056 awarded, to refurbish and restore the building. The money will allow the building to host an exciting and vibrant programme of activities.

  • Article: Nov 19, 2021
    By WC

    People in Chippenham and the surrounding villages have been almost unanimous in their opposition to a big new road and housing development around the town. But Wiltshire Council's Conservative administration is pressing ahead anyway. Now they're offering another pretend consultation, this time on the details of the development. In the interests of balance the press release from WC is below, this time completely unedited, so you can draw your own conclusions.

  • van
    Article: Nov 19, 2021
    By WC

    A new asymptomatic testing van will be on the roads this week.

    The van will be visiting various targeted communities, to offer free lateral flow tests and ensure no-one is missing the opportunity for regular testing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

    Kate Blackburn, Director of Public Health, said: "We hope our asymptomatic testing van will improve the accessibility of COVID-19 testing for people who are not showing symptoms but may be carrying COVID-19, and help offer that extra protection and reassurance to our communities during autumn and winter, keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe."

  • Article: Nov 18, 2021
    By WC

    Christmas is a time of massive rubbish-buying. Mountains of wrapping and packaging and seasonal tat ends up in the bin. Apart from the direct waste of money in the purchase of the rubbish, there are also the financial and environmental costs of disposing of it. Here's Wiltshire Council's rubbish reminder:

  • Article: Nov 12, 2021
    By WC

    Wiltshire Council will be using a government grant to help ensure as many vulnerable people as possible in the county are safe, warm and fed this winter.

    The Government's £421 million national Household Support Grant Scheme was made available in early October 2021 to support those most in need with the cost of food, energy, water bills and other essential costs.

  • Article: Nov 1, 2021

    The scrutiny process at Wiltshire Council consists of lots of nice people patting each other on the back and saying how wonderful everything is.

    A questioner to tomorrow's Health Scrutiny Committee has asked why there is no reference in the committee agenda to the many crises currently hitting the NHS.

  • Article: Oct 29, 2021

    Here's a summary of the Spending Review from the Local Government Association Lib Dems:

    • It ignores the climate emergency. Working with local government to tackle this was given a very low profile in the budget and the reduction in Air Passenger duty while hiking up rail fares is laughable for a Government pledging to tackle global warming, all on the eve of the COP26 conference. What a massive own goal!
    • It lets our kids down. Only £1.8 billion in extra catch up funding which is a pittance, but the Government found £3.8 billion to reduce the banking surcharge and give tax cuts to their friends, the bankers.
    • It says nothing about the underfunding of social care, letting our elderly and vulnerable down. Care services have been on the frontline throughout the pandemic and it is a real tragedy (but no surprise) that no extra funding to address existing pressures on care and support have been provided. Not caring for those in need just puts more pressure on the NHS. Again the council taxpayer will be expected to foot the bill. How many times do we need to tell them that we need £1.1 billion a year just to cover existing costs?
    • No increase in public health funding to stop people getting ill in the first place, despite this incredibly challenging period. It runs contrary to addressing the stark health inequalities exposed by COVID-19 and levelling up our communities. Local authorities' public health grant has been cut by 24 per cent on a real-terms basis since 2015.
    • Police continue to be underfunded. In March 2021, there were 135,301 full time equivalent police officers. Ten years earlier in March 2011, there were 139,110. Factor in staff turnover and those leaving the force and numbers are not likely to rise. When Ministers talk about extra officers they don't count the ones who leave.
    • Councils will be expected to raise council tax by 3 per cent every year to meet what Government believes they should be able to spend. So it is a real "trick" budget ....