Letters: Labour’s message to hard workers is that prudence will be punished

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, a visit to Morrisons in Swindon
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, a visit to Morrisons in Swindon - Stefan Rousseau/PA

SIR – Now that we finally have an idea of what Sir Keir Starmer means by “working people”, we have a very good reason not to vote for the Labour Party on July 4 (“Tax raid fear as Starmer suggests savers are ‘not working people’”, report, June 19).

My son has had a job since the age of 16, with barely any time off, and worked all through Covid. He is bringing up a family, and he and his wife have saved. They have been prudent to be sure of having money for a rainy day.

Why would anyone seek to succeed and generate wealth under Labour?

Barbara Lloyd 
Ossett, West Yorkshire

SIR – It seems that the kind of “working person” Labour has in mind is someone who has savings of less than £1,000 (report, June 19).

Is Sir Keir Starmer suggesting that anyone trying to better themselves by saving for a deposit for a home, or putting a bit aside for an emergency, or making sure that they have enough for their care in old age, shouldn’t be counted among “working people”?

What utter nonsense.

Francesca Button
Portsmouth, Hampshire

SIR – I retired from teaching in a state primary school in 1996 and immediately started a tuition-at-home service.

My husband and I spent the money I earned on lovely cruise holidays and upgrading aspects of our home.

Recently, however, holidays have had to be cancelled – first due to the Covid pandemic and then because of illness. Refunds and insurance claims had to be made.

All the money we had saved was from taxed income, but we now have what Sir Keir Starmer might call considerable savings.

Why should we be punished?

Yvonne Jones
Horley, Surrey

SIR – As a tax lawyer, I can confirm that wealth is already leaving the country over fear of a hardline Labour policy on non-doms (report, June 19).

Neither Labour nor the Conservatives has stated exactly what reforming the non-dom status will look like. This is needlessly putting the financial best interests of our country at risk. For many it’s not knowing where they stand that’s causing nervousness.

Aside from the changes to taxation for international individuals who have a presence in the UK, there are changes proposed to the long-term taxation of offshore vehicles such as trusts, many of which have been established by people before becoming domiciled in the UK.

It is the possibility of these (as yet unsubstantiated) changes that is causing the most significant concern and upheaval. We need clarity from both main parties quickly.

Jon Shankland
London EC3

Hidden artefacts

SIR – If Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum decided it could remove Igbo artefacts from display in the interests of “cultural safety” because Igbo culture forbids women from seeing them (report, June 18), then this would beg the question: would the ethnic groups from whom such objects originated be harmed by the millions of women who might have already seen them? Have such groups ever complained? 

Jean-Marc Evans
London N12

SIR – I am intrigued, and not a little horrified, by the practice of concealing museum artefacts from female patrons “to respect the gender conventions of other cultures” (report, June 19).

The suggestion that female professional museum staff may not see or handle the exhibits is even more disgraceful.

What happened to respecting the gender conventions of our own culture?

Hilary Aitken
Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire

Flawed Troubles Act

SIR – Families who lost loved ones in the Troubles are unanimous in their view that the Legacy Act is an abomination, which would put justice out of reach forever.

The High Court in Belfast ruled earlier this year that core parts of the Act breach human rights.

Far from presenting a danger (report, telegraph.co.uk, June 16), repealing the legislation will contribute to societal healing and help the provision of longed-for answers.

Families deserve the truth of what happened to their loved ones. To characterise due process as vexatious is insulting to victims and undermines the basic tenet of the rule of law.

The next UK government must not only repeal, but also replace this flawed Act with processes that put victims and their rights to truth, justice and reparations at its centre.

Grainne Teggart
Deputy Director, Northern Ireland
Amnesty International UK
London EC2

From pillar to post

SIR – The door fell off the pillar box (Letters, June 18) at the end of our street on June 11 2022. Royal Mail wrapped it in black plastic, and so it remained until May 24 this year, when “maintenance” turned up to give it a coat of paint.

It was explained what the problem was, and we were assured that it would be repaired within six weeks. The street waits with bated breath.

Gill Read
Kelvedon, Essex

SIR – I’ve been a professional decorator for 40 years. In 2016, appalled at the condition of the postboxes in Shefford, Bedfordshire, I took it upon myself to paint all seven in order to commemorate Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday.

I picked out the crown in gold paint and the ER in black. A year later the Post Office repainted them all, saying that I had not done it to their standard – in other words, not completely red.

The mayor of Shefford at the time wrote to the late Queen saying how appalled he was that the Post Office had done this, as the postboxes looked so good.

The mayor and I received a reply from her personal secretary, saying that she had read the letter, and thanked us for what we had done.

This letter remains my most prized possession.

Ray Powell
Shefford, Bedfordshire

Links to fossil fuels

SIR – You report (June 17) that Cambridge University may sever ties with Barclays and Lloyds over links to fossil fuels. I wonder how the colleges heat their huge buildings. If they do so with either oil or gas then, by their own logic, they must stop immediately.

David Jones

SIR – Am I right to assume that Cambridge would refuse to accept students who pay fees via these banks?

Carol White
Northwold, Norfolk

Trans children’s battle

SIR – I am a 68-year-old grandmother of three, one of whom is trans. Michael Deacon implies I might be a proponent of gender ideology (“Tony Blair’s bizarre statement on trans rights sums up the madness of our times”, Comment, June 18). I see things differently.

I made the uncomfortable decision to put to one side the sanctity of my own opinions and instead respectfully engage with my trans grandchild. I have gained much as a result.

Significantly, I now understand that my beloved grandchild bears a terrible burden navigating life in a context that is antithetical to their very existence. Consequently, I live daily with a visceral fear for their safety and future. 
History, across multiple cultures, demonstrates that gender diversity is not a new phenomenon; affording any public space to those that embody this reality, is.

My decision to learn to live with my own discomfort and listen has taught me many things, above all, perhaps, humility – a quality we would all benefit from cultivating.

M McTeague

Excuses, excuses

SIR – “Chewed by dog” was just one of many excuses (Letters, June 17) I heard from readers during my years as a librarian. I also had “dropped in bath” and “left on tennis court and it rained all night”. Of course, this book was a manual on tennis strokes.

Isabel Wood
Barnoldswick, Lancashire

SIR – I’m reorganising the books in my study, and am bemused that there seems to be no standardisation of sizes. I can forgive the larger format of art and architecture books, but why are textbooks in so many shapes and sizes?

Kenneth Preston
Royal Hillsborough, Co Down

Parking apps driving the public to distraction

Green spaces: cars parked at the Royal Portbury Dock in Avonmouth, Bristol
Green spaces: cars parked at the Royal Portbury Dock in Avonmouth, Bristol - Alamy /Alamy

SIR – I have three apps on my phone that I use for parking in various parts of the country (“How RingGo took over the high street car park”, Business, June 18).

In many places, it is necessary to visit a ticket machine to find out which app to use and the location code. One might as well pay at the ticket machine.

We need better rules for provision of public parking, starting with prominent displays of app names and location numbers.

There should also be no differentials in rates according to method of payment. Charging must be proportional to actual duration on site.

Dr Andrew McHutchon
Harrogate, North Yorkshire

SIR – RingGo, and other parking app companies, are the new highwaymen of our age. These are private companies whose profits derive from monetisation of public space. They should be taxed more to pay back this benefit.

John Jones
London SW19

SIR – I am in my seventies and now have seven different apps for parking on my phone. I find the whole system simple and convenient – indeed, I was pleasantly surprised in France last week to discover that I could pay just over €3 to park for three hours using one of them.

If ageing drivers are still capable of negotiating our busy roads and the ever-more complex features in modern cars, surely they can also learn to use simple apps.

David Barnett
Newark, Nottinghamshire

An invitation to lunch with Harold Wilson

SIR – My father had a long stay in a hospital in Oxford, and I promised to take him and my mother to Sunday lunch in my favourite hostelry, close to Chequers, when he was released.

On arrival I was told that the prime minister, Harold Wilson (Letters, June 19), and his wife Mary and their son Robin were having Sunday lunch, and so the restaurant was closed to the public.

I explained how much my parents had been looking forward to their visit, and the situation with my father’s illness. The owner went to pass this on to Mr Wilson, who said he would be delighted if we joined them for lunch.

My mother, a staunch Labour supporter, dined out on this story for years.

Dr Christine Simons

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