I RECENTLY visited Amsterdam and Antwerp. Both cities have largely pedestrianised city centres with little traffic, segregated cycle lanes and shared pathways, tram networks, Amsterdam has free ferries and both have clean air. Cyclists are not vilified as they are here, and both pedestrians and bicycles seem to manage to move calmly through the city centre precincts without crashing into each other.

I saw no empty shops, and streets were clean, with neither discarded rubbish, accumulated autumn leaves nor potholes, unlike in Southampton. I didn't see anyone sleeping in doorways or begging, nor did I see anyone overweight or drunk.

It seems one of the wealthiest nations in the world has learnt nothing from being in the EU. Quite how we expect things to improve after Brexit, I have no idea. As Tony Hamilton said in his recent letter, our government policies in recent years have ensured that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This has lead to enormous inequality, massive social deprivation, homelessness, litter-strewn cities, poor air quality, streets overrun with cars, struggling retail areas, as well as obesity and ill health.

It's a shame more enlightened countries like Belgium and Holland weren't able to influence the UK and show by example that there are better ways for people to move around cities, reducing congestion, keeping citizens fit and saving them money by cycling, walking and using free or cheap public transport. Their urban centres are traffic-free public spaces, full of independent shops, not littered with fast-food outlets and coffee chains. Like most of Europe, home ownership is less common, houses and flats are not investment properties and rents are affordable.

How sad that our governments value corporate wealth and profit over quality of life for all citizens.

Cara Sandys