Litter louts

FOLLOWING on from the article by Stuart Minting a couple of weeks ago “Authorities urged to clear up county’s ‘corridors of shame’”, I thought readers might be interested in an experience I had this week.

Travelling through Richmond I spotted a pile of rubbish by the side of the road on Sandbeck and resolved to pick it up on my return journey.

When I stopped to do so, I discovered that the charming individual who decided to jettison their rubbish also left the receipt for their purchase.

They had bought a takeaway meal from McDonalds in Alnwick and there was sufficient evidence (or so I thought) to identify the culprit.

I rang McDonald's in Alnwick and they said I needed to go through the police or the council. The police said ring the council (NYCC) and the council told me that, due to data protection laws, they were unable to take it further.

So, litter louts are protected, but not our beautiful countryside! What hope is there?

Wendy Patch, Bedale.

High Street

WHAT alternative universe do members of Hambleton Council inhabit?

Obviously one where a £700,000 increase in the cost of High Street refurbishment works is minimal (D&S Times, April 8). One where the masters of that universe can splash around other peoples' money on their own vanity projects, without consequences.

Many residents of the real world in our district are struggling to make ends meet and are facing harsh consequences daily. They can only dream of a place where an 18.5 per cent or even a 3.5 per cent increase would be minimal.

If these councillors want to regain credibility they could explain why the design of their flagship project was so wrong. Had they forgotten that there were underground toilets in front of the Town Hall?

Have they just realised that they would be digging up an historic street with sewers, wires and gas services all over?

Did they forget to ask the utility companies where their services were?

Couldn’t they find a designer who could answer these questions and give proper advice? This isn't rocket science or even HS2.

You don't have to be a master of the universe to know that if these and other questions were asked and answered before starting the scheme the true costs would have been known in advance.

These masters probably didn't want to know because the project would not have been value for money and couldn't be justified.

The councillors should also explain which projects in the Northallerton Future Schemes project will not go ahead because funding has been used to pay for the High Street.

There was no mention of this in the Cabinet discussion, or what other scheme budgets could have been used instead.

Local people may have preferred the local schemes, but they were not asked.

The arrogance of this is breath-taking and is an insult to our intelligence.

Thankfully they only have one more year left to waste our money before the new North Yorkshire Council takes over.

I hope their careers end here and none of them will be elected to the new council.

SP Williamson, Brompton, Northallerton.

Destroying nature

THE D&S Times front page (County Durham edition, April 8) is quite stark regarding an "ecological emergency” declared by Durham County Council.

Just two days before you went to print I gazed admiringly upon swathes of yellow lesser celandine and daisies well established on the front at Middleton One Row along with a few customers on their way to lunch at the Devonport Hotel.

They remarked how “lovely it was” to see and I wondered how many pollinating insects would thrive in that environment and how many birds would thrive on those insects, thanks to the foresight of the local authority, who appeared to have left well alone.

The following day, at great expense no doubt, local authority motor mowers were despatched to the area.

The daisies were gone, the celandine almost non-existent.

Here is a tip for our local councils, leave the lawnmowers in the shed.

Richard Baker, Middleton one row.

Tax affairs

I STOOD as a Parliamentary candidate against Rishi Sunak in his first election to be an MP in Richmond in 2015.

Despite having been recruited from California (where, I believe, he still maintains a house) Mr Sunak made much in his hustings speeches of his British roots and promised to make his home in the Richmond constituency.

Now we learn that his wife has declared that she is not permanently domiciled in the UK, thereby saving million in UK taxes last year alone.

This is seven years after her husband's election as an MP, so presumably Ms Murty has been non-domiciled in the UK all this time?

For seven years therefore, Mr Sunak has been living a lie. How can he have made his home in North Yorkshire, when his wife says her home is in India?

Mr Sunak promised to make the Richmond constituency a home for his family as well as himself. I was there. I heard him.

Either Mr Sunak or Ms Murty is being economical with the truth.

Either way, this man is disingenuous and has no right to be telling the British people what they should be paying in tax.

If he had any honour he would resign both from the Government and as an MP.

Leslie Rowe, Independent district councillor for Catterick and Brompton on Swale.

Coverage share

ON the day that every national newspaper led with front page articles on Rishi Sunak and his wife's unusual domiciliary and tax arrangements, the D&S Times hid a small article on the subject on page 8 and then choose to follow this with not one but two large articles, each with a photograph, publicising Mr Sunak's attendance at the same event.

In the same issue , the very important elections for the Yorkshire unitary authority gets a third of a page and the 288 candidates are not even listed.

I believe that a dominant regional weekly has a duty to be even-handed between the Members of Parliament in the areas it covers and, indeed, even handed between the various political views of its readership.

The D&S Times has promoted Mr Sunak for years now, sometimes often with several photographs in one edition.

Surely it is time to give other politicians and other political views a fair share of coverage?

Gerald Hodgson, Richmond (Yorks) Liberal Democrats, Leyburn.

Non-dom status

THAT Akshata Murty is Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife is irrelevant.

What is important is that she is one of many Tory-supporting “non-doms” who avoid paying UK taxes simply by declaring that their main residence is abroad while living here permanently.

To say Ms Murty "pays all UK tax required” (i.e. nothing) is sheer hypocritical cant. Non-dom status is a relic of the colonial era (it was wrong even then) and should be abolished.

Why anyone with an income of less than £500 a week (average wage) votes for the Conservatives, a party whose main aim is to enrich themselves and their party donors at our expense, is beyond me.

Chris Foote-Wood, Barnard Castle.

Local support

FOLLOWING articles in the Sunday broadsheets saying "Senior (Conservative) party figures think the furore over the Chancellor’s US Green Card and his wife’s tax affairs have put an end to his chances" I would like to say in canvassing for local elections that isn't the case on the doorstep.

People in Chancellor Rishi Sunak's own constituency, where there are local elections, still support the Chancellor and the results of the local elections on May 5 in his constituency could surprise your readership if they are predicting his political demise.

The poor performance of the Conservatives elsewhere will be the responsibility of the Prime Minister not the Chancellor.

A surprising number of people have Green Cards and an admiration for the Chancellor's wife for reducing her tax bill.

These issues are not playing for the opposition on the doorstep. To expect them to is astonishingly naive, and I would say wishful thinking, by armchair warriors.

Cllr Nigel Boddy (Lib Dem), North Road Ward, Darlington.

Green Card

HOW confident can we be in Rishi Sunak’s economic stewardship of our country when he is reported as having a United States Green Card and therefore an interest in the economic success of that country and his rich wife has an obvious interest in the success of India’s economy?

Did Mr Sunak ever tell his Conservative supporters in the Richmond constituency about his Green Card? If not, why not and if he did were the Conservatives in the constituency happy about that?

According to the recent news today Mr Sunak broke the rules about gatherings in the Covid crisis that the Government he is part of imposed on the rest of us and has been fined as a result. I hope there will be many others in the constituency who think as I do, that Mr Sunak should resign both as Chancellor and as an MP.

John Harris, Richmond.

Double standards

THE non-domiciled tax status of Chancellor Sunak’s wife means that she pays no UK tax on earnings from abroad. Tory apologists claim that’s okay because she pays tax abroad, and certainly she has done nothing illegal.

But it also means that while she lives here and uses services for health, education, defence, transport, infrastructure etc, she’s not paying for those services in the way she would if she were domiciled here.

The whole concept of non-domiciled status is for people who are living here temporarily, but whose long-term home is elsewhere.

Rishi Sunak is domiciled here but his wife is not. So their long-term homes are in different countries. That looks either an odd sort of marriage or a way of avoiding tax. Typical Tory double standards when the Tory Chancellor has just put up the taxes for the workers while his non-dom wife lives here but pays her taxes to other countries.

Phil Hunt, Barningham.

Dicing with danger

DID anyone else notice a couple of idiot kids on Darlington’s Devonshire Road standing in the middle of the road forcing cars to either slow down or swerve to avoid hitting them on April 7?

I bet their parents are so proud of their children for being so stupid, but, I bet those same parents are no better if they allow their children to be so stupid.

Typical though, there's never a police car around when you need one, (I'd like to know what my over-the-top council tax is paying for these days). Maybe it's time the public took some matters into their own hands.

Maybe that's what the police are hoping for, or they're waiting for an accident to happen so it makes doing the paperwork worth coming out.

This is the future of our society and government thinks we should do everything to make the future life better for them, I say let them rot. If the parents of trouble makers like these can't be bothered with them, why should the public care?

Dave Harris, Darlington.

Concert fundraising

MEMBERS of the East Witton Male Voice Choir would like to thank everyone who came and supported their Spring Concert in Leyburn Methodist Chapel hall on Friday, April 8.

The choir is particularly grateful for the most generous response from the capacity audience in raising £1,158 for the work of UNICEF in Ukraine.

The choir will be delighted to welcome new members to join them on Wednesday evenings for rehearsals in Leyburn (no audition required).

Diana Hartley, musical director.

Difficult times

I FEEL sorry for the younger people of today, the world is in a crisis state, the war in Ukraine and the price of all essential commodities, foods and services like gas and electricity going up.

Us older people have had good times to have fun and holidays back in the good old days.

GO Wright, Sadberge.