SIR – Jeremy Hunt’s claim that tax cuts are virtually impossible (report, September 22) shows how cautious and lacking in
ideas this Government has become.
We only need continued high taxes because the Government thinks it has to spend (and waste) so much. It would have plenty of room for manoeuvre if only it would start to think radically about, for example, the NHS and welfare instead of plodding along.
It is worth recalling the words of Margaret Thatcher: “When the state does everything for you, it will soon take everything from you.”
Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire
SIR – The Chancellor has effectively ruled out tax cuts. This at a time when quangos alone are costing the taxpayer many billions of pounds. Indeed, it seems that we have more civil servants now than when Britain ran an empire. The long-promised bonfire of the quangos might give the Chancellor scope to reduce the tax burden.
Roger J Arthur
Pulborough, West Sussex
SIR – The encouraging noises from the Treasury about abolishing inheritance tax appear to have gone quiet.
As many have noted, reforming or abolishing this tax is is perhaps the only move that could give the Conservatives a fighting chance at the next election. Why the gutless hesitation?
Inheritance tax changes before the election would put Sir Keir Starmer on the spot – would he pledge to reinstate it? They would remove a large element of complication from the tax system, allowing HMRC to concentrate on more rewarding matters, and take a whole load of worry off the shoulders of the elderly.
Above all, such a move would bring disillusioned Conservatives back to the fold. As a former Conservative voter, I am now on strike unless sanity prevails. There is no moral justification for taking thousands – sometimes hundreds of thousands – of pounds from people who have saved and lived prudently all their lives, denying their families the benefits.
Junior doctors’ duty
SIR – I understand the frustrations felt by junior doctors regarding the real difficulties that they face daily (Letters, September 22). I retired long ago but even now, as a locum, I feel the strain.
However, we are in the business of giving the very best that we can to our patients, and that is why we chose this profession. My plea is for my young colleagues to have forbearance, stick to the job at hand – and, in time, help to bring about change for the better.
Dr René Tayar
SIR – I was disappointed to read that Geraint Lloyd-Watts’s granddaughter and her partner intend to leave Britain for Australia once they have completed their medical qualifications (Letters, September 22).
Surely it would be reasonable to expect our medics to spend a certain period of time in the NHS.
Russell Brand online
SIR – I was disturbed to learn that Dame Caroline Dinenage, the chair of the House of Commons culture, media and sport committee, wrote to Rumble and a number of other major corporations demanding that they cease allowing Russell Brand to earn his living on their platforms (report, telegraph.co.uk, September 21).
Though Rumble rejected the demand, this interference in the rule of law by a politician is a denial of the fundamental principle of British justice – that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
It is precisely when a controversial and unattractive personality is “in the dock” that the core principles of the judicial process must be upheld.
SIR – I don’t know if the odious Russell Brand is guilty of what he has been accused of. However, given what he happily did in public (much of which was recorded by our national broadcaster and others), I was not hugely surprised by the claims about what he may have done in private.
Hove, East Sussex
SIR– The suggestion that the British poultry meat industry offers anything other than safe, affordable, nutritious food produced to world-class health and welfare standards (“Chicken has become the nation’s favourite meat – but at what cost?”, Saturday, September 16) serves to undermine our farmers and producers, and demonstrates a lack of knowledge of our sector.
Poultry farmers do not have the luxury that single-interest NGOs possess, of focusing on just one issue to the detriment of all else – in this case claims that welfare has been “sacrificed”. We balance welfare, environmental impact, consumer needs and rocketing production costs, among other factors, and we do a very good job in feeding this country.
A healthy level of food self-sufficiency is the only way to feed people, alleviate hunger and manage our impacts. Focusing on a single aspect will only export our industry, lower our standards (including welfare) and make food more expensive.
There are several other points I would like to address.
We do not use genetic modification. The sector has breeding programmes where birds demonstrating good health and productivity traits are chosen to pass on their genes.
Using antibiotics as growth promoters is illegal. We were the first livestock sector to voluntarily develop a strategy for the responsible use of antibiotics. Overall use has decreased by 80 per cent and the use of critically important antibiotics has decreased by 98.5 per cent.
Poultry farms are subject to stringent and regulated environmental protection. All pollution risks are monitored and managed.
Poultry only uses around 30 per cent of imported soy, and producers are part of recognised, responsible soy-use programmes.
Of the 350 cases of bird flu declared last year, only eight were in standard broiler farms. All these cases derived outside the farm through wild bird incursion. When disease is found, the farm is culled so disease does not leave the farm.
Finally, higher-welfare products are widely available, even though they are around 30 per cent more expensive and have a larger environmental impact.
Chief executive, British Poultry Council
Sensible speed limit
SIR – Faversham became a 20 mph zone some time ago, without any fuss (Letters, September 22). It is a small, thriving market town and the change suits it very well.
SIR – We are on holiday in Snowdonia and wholeheartedly endorse the new speed limit.
It has enlivened our car journeys no end: at 20mph you can watch residents’ televisions, cut and file an annoying nail or play rubbish basketball by pitching your leftover burger wrappings into a roadside bin.
SIR – Jeff Fynn-Paul (telegraph.co.uk, September 20) provides a bleak and accurate picture of the role that Germanic immigrants played in the downfall of Rome.
Sadly, he undermines his case with his suggestion that Enlightenment and liberal values gave birth to the Industrial Revolution and modern democracy, and that these should be our foundation in defending our society.
In fact, the Enlightenment was a term coined by Edmund Burke for the French Revolution as he rallied conservative-minded politicians, including his close friend Pitt the Younger, to defend traditional Christian values and constitutional structures against those who called for the liberal values of “liberty, equality and fraternity”. They battled together against a revolutionary France reshaped by a rationalist mindset.
More recently our warriors on land, sea and air fought for traditional values in two world wars. Churchill called for the defence of Christian civilisation and Roosevelt appealed to Christian democracy. Thousands of letters from ordinary soldiers talk of king and country, home and Uncle Sam, not liberal constructs.
Enlightenment values offer no basis for loyalty. In fact, modern wokery shares the same corrupted rationalist source. Both derive from alleged universal principles instead of experience.
Dr Fynn-Paul is right, however, that Roman professional armies represented “a tiny fraction of the Roman population but could only be maintained via an exorbitant and oppressive tax system”. This bears out the decision of the Eastern Empire to return to the militia system of the Republic. It lasted another 1,000 years – and as an explicitly Christian state.
Sir Julian Brazier
Why beer has a place in the life of the Church
SIR – It was common for churches to sell beer (Letters, September 22) in the Middle Ages. “Church ales” were one of the more enjoyable ways of raising money for fabric repairs.
The incumbent of St Ia in St Ives, Cornwall, who has been criticised for installing beer pumps, might just have saved his church.
SIR – In 1964 I travelled to the small Spanish town of Peñíscola for my first holiday abroad.
I arrived a day before the rest of my group, and the Spanish owner of our villa invited me to join his family for a barbecue, after which I was asked to join them for a service at the local Catholic church.
After that, we went into the crypt, where I was surprised to see a large television showing the Tour de France – and a well-stocked bar.
Needless to say, it was a large “congregation”. Noting that I was English, everyone cheered
whenever Tom Simpson came into view.
In their time
SIR – While I have great respect for Melvyn Bragg, and would like to congratulate him on presenting the 1,000th edition of In Our Time this week (Leading Article, September 21), could I ask him to insist that his guests talk of historical events in the past tense? Describing the past in the present tense does not make it more “amenable” or “real”.
SIR – Congratulations to Melvyn Bragg and the BBC on the 1,000th In Our Time episode – but why can’t we have programmes like this on television, too?
I seem to recall that, at some time in the distant past, interesting programmes with “talking heads” and stationary images did exist. There is lots of room on BBC2 or BBC4 for such programmes.
We don’t all want to be fed a diet of pap, and some of us have an attention span beyond that of a gnat.
SIR – In the pictures of the banquet at Versailles (Features, September 22), I couldn’t help noticing that the King and Queen were holding their champagne glasses by the bowls, whereas President Macron was holding the stem.
If I am ever invited to an event of this magnitude – highly unlikely, admittedly – it would be helpful to know which is correct.
I suspect the drink keeps its temperature better if you only touch the stem, but this can be easily overcome by draining the glass quickly and demanding a refill.
Letters to the Editor
We accept letters by email and post. Please include name, address, work and home telephone numbers.
ADDRESS: 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 0DT
FOLLOW: Telegraph Letters on Twitter @LettersDesk
NEWSLETTER: sign up to receive the award-winning Telegraph Conversations here