Public money

I HAVE heard on local radio news that the government is to close down its no deal Brexit department, which apparently has cost £44bn, add to that the £33m paid out for a ferry company with no ferries.

We seem to have lost an awful lot of money recently, but we still have an NHS, police, fire brigade, and pot holes in all the roads that for some reason cannot be given funding to sort out their problems.

I take it that the prime minister’s comments not so long ago that austerity was over was not quite correct. It seems to me that this government has no clue as to what they are doing or where they are going and they certainly have no priority as to running the country properly.

I think that the overrated and overpaid MPs should be replaced with normal working people as we seem to have a better grasp on how to run households, businesses and finances.

After all if the many businesses in the UK were run as this country is being run at present then I fear there would be many insolvencies.

C.P.Atkinson, Great Ayton

Simple job

AIR pollution is a subject of concern at present, lots can be done to improve the situation.

Drivers sitting in their cars, engine running, blowing out gas, waiting for passengers or just keeping warm.

Cars and bikers driving fast in low gears.

Maybe parking officers could have another simple job of speaking to offending drivers to reproach them.

Less pollution, less noise, save money

Christopher Stirk, Stokesley


IT is indeed disappointing to learn that Richmond MP, Rishi Sunak, voted for “leave with no deal”, aligning himself with the ERG (D&S Times letters, April 5).

All the more disappointing because, when in 2014 he laid out his bid to become the prospective parliamentary Conservative candidate for Richmond, Yorks, he made no mention of Europe.

The European Research Group is the great-grandchild of the Tories of

19th century Britain who represented the landed gentry.

The Whigs were then the party of manufacturing. During the later part of the 20th century the Conservative Party united these two groups, realising that we needed a successful business sector in order to provide such services as health, education, security and pensions.

The splinter party of Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees Mogg now derides business, both employers and employees.

A split from Europe diminishes us, our prosperity and our influence.

Indeed, it has already diminished us, as we become the laughing stock of the world.

In Europe we have been a major player politically, both in influencing the terms of trade and in our relationship with the rest of the world. To believe that, out of Europe, we can easily make our own rules when trading with other blocks is to live in cloud cuckoo land.

Any agreements will need compromise, something present parliamentarians ignore at their peril.

Susan Latter, Scruton

Welcome news

EVERYONE welcomes the news that £20m has been allocated to prepare for the 200th Anniversary of steam railways in 2025 and to acknowledge the contribution made by the Pease family in Darlington.

To restore a vibrant town centre for 2025 and retain our heritage the local council must start planning now.

Austerity is not an issue if they can spend £60,000 on solar litter bins, a £6m multi-storey car park, £8.5m on Beaumont Street office block, not to mention £2m on legal fees and construction work in its failed attempt to close the Pease memorial library.

With only a few easy inexpensive changes the town centre could start to thrive again – free disc parking, allow traffic in Skinnergate, return the market stalls and car parking to the Market Square, remove all unnecessary yellow lines and parking restrictions – free disabled parking and taxi tokens for the elderly. They should also reconsider current bus routes.

Public consultation before the council signed a 100-year lease on the Covered Market for a pittance of a rent together with a £2m loan to the management company without any fixed date for completion of renovation work was foolhardy.

We are now seeing some suggestions but it could be years before they come to fruition – and a proud town expecting thousands of visitors for the 200th anniversary is not able to offer even one public toilet.

Jean Jones, Darlington

Police mergers

THE Durham Constabulary Chief Constable will retire later this year and there is a temporary acting Chief Constable in Cleveland, following the unexpected resignation of the appointed Chief Constable.

Both constabularies have a highly-salaried Police Commissioner with an office and administrative staff.

The Durham Constabulary is one of the most highly rated police forces, while the Cleveland constabulary is regularly under review.

The Durham Constabulary is no longer responsible for the major conurbations south of the Tyne or North of the Tees, that are now policed by the Northumbria or Cleveland forces.

I believe it is now opportune to abolish Cleveland constabulary and for its responsibilities north of the Tees to be transferred to the Durham Constabulary and those south of the Tees to be transferred to North Yorkshire Police.

There is already close co-operation between these constabularies in certain spheres of criminal investigation so a formal amalgamation of the Durham and Cleveland north of the Tees seems logical.

It might also reduce the cost to council tax payers.

In Scotland, Northern Ireland and part of England there have already been very effective amalgamations of separate territorial constabularies.

I have recommended the re-organisation of Durham and Cleveland Police to the Home Secretary and await his response.

Norman Welch, Darlington

Hospital smokers

SMOKERS outside hospital entrances – visitors, patients on drips, pregnant women – just light up with disregard to others.

If we have to pay to park in hospital grounds, pre-known or as an emergency, given hospitals have security persons, why can’t smokers be fined quite substantially?

They are just making a mockery of the health service. How would they feel if treatment would be rejected due to commitment to smoking knowing the possible results? I am an ex-smoker.

P A Jackson, Richmond

Have respect

I HAVE just read about the smoking ban at The James Cook and The Friarage hospitals.

I do hope they have more success than the Memorial Hospital in Darlington. I have witnessed patients smoking near the main entrance attached to drips they have dragged from the wards, pregnant women sitting on a bench near the entrance to the women’s centre and visitors lighting up while they are waiting for transport.

They smoke while standing on writing that tells them not to smoke in hospital grounds.

There are beautiful flower tubs created by a lovely lady and all her hard work is being used as ashtrays.

Come on, people, have some respect for yourselves and other hospital visitors that have to walk through the lingering smoke and the horrible smell it leaves.

Margaret Stabler, Darlington