Funds surplus

Recent editions of the D&S Times have carried reports that Hambleton and other district councils have finished up with large reserve funds prior to the new council taking over. This surplus money having been paid by council tax payers.

Rather than splash this money on vanity projects or above legal requirements due to any surplus staff, the obvious solution would have been to refund this from next year’s rate demands which we all expect to show an increase in amounts due.

This should not be too difficult to do with all the modern technology at their disposal.

T Pitts, Sowerby.

Golden goodbyes

IT beggars belief that in such hard financial times, with a serious cost of living crisis going on and people having to make choices of heating or eating, local councillors can decide to give away near enough a million pounds as golden handshakes to staff. “Exit payments described as a ‘bung for the boys’” (D&S Times, Nov 25).

It seems to me that council taxpayers are being overcharged in North Yorkshire when one councillor states that there is enough money in the reserves.

CP Atkinson, Great Ayton.

Support Fairtrade

WITH the prices of essentials going up, it’s those earning the least who are suffering the most.

This is true here in the UK and also true for the people overseas growing so much of what we eat and drink.

Soaring costs combined with the damage being caused by climate change threatens the future of food.

That means a serious and immediate threat to the communities already facing extreme hardship due to our deeply unfair global trade system. Fairtrade choices don’t have to cost more. Many good value choices can be found across a variety of supermarkets and other shops. Each Fairtrade choice means a fairer deal for the farmers and workers behind that product.

There is an opportunity to support the work of Fairtrade today (December 2) at a coffee morning at Stokesley Town Hall from 10am to 11.30am. Every Fairtrade choice makes a difference.

Sally Chaplain, on behalf of the Stokesley and Great Ayton Fairtrade Group.

Ration exceptions

G O WRIGHT stated that during the Second World War everything in the UK was rationed “Return to rationing” (D&S Times letters, Nov 25).

While a great deal of everyday commodities such as most foodstuffs and clothing were rationed, there were some exceptions.

Bread surprisingly, was one of them, not rationed during the war but rationed in 1946.

Fruit and vegetables including potatoes were never rationed either but were often in short supply. Confectionery was rationed and came off rationing in the early 1950s but within a short time, rationing was re-introduced due to over indulgence.

The term “we must go and collect the rations” came into use during the war and that expression lingered on several years after the war’s end.

Tony Eaton, Northallerton.

Daniels’ legacy

THE late South Bank magician Paul Daniels’ personal collection of props, posters and memorabilia has been sold at auction for a whopping £156,000.

Some of his collection did not sell, including many of those large props used on BBC’s The Paul Daniels Magic Show, a programme that once attracted more than 15 million viewers.

But many interesting items generated some decent prices like a signed Houdini letter (£1,690).

Other intriguing Daniels’ curios were his original toupee which sold for a hair-raising £2,730; a box of 1980s Daniels’ embossed Christmas crackers (£90); and a This is Your Life 1988 camera script (£160).

The sale also boasted the biggest collection of magic and entertainment posters ever sold in the UK.

An 1873 Victorian Magic act advertisement was the dearest sale at £5,720.

There were also 350 separate posters on auction and as a collector of old poster art I even managed to purchase two of them, including an original 1889 Cambridge Bazar entertainment poster.

Daniels had a famous catchphrase – ‘’not a lot’’.

I think he would have been well pleased with the ‘’lot’’ his collection generated and the legacy he has passed on to other collectors.

Stephen Dixon, Redcar.

Date confusion

LIKE everything else associated with this ill-fated new bridge in Northallerton, even the proposed date of opening reported in last week’s edition of the D&S Times is not correct.

The Monday dates in December are 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th. There is no Monday 16th in December.

There has been a catalogue of delays regarding this bridge which have bordered on incompetence, with no one body standing up and accepting either responsibility or even giving a logical explanation for the unnecessary delay.

All the public received was excuses and obfuscation.

Why couldn’t anyone stand up and be counted? My late father always told me, “Our John, if you make a mistake, stand up, accept the blame and take the responsibility. It might not be nice but you’ll learn from it”.

Something the responsible authorities seem unwilling or unable to do.

John Prest, Northallerton.

Editor’s note: The correct date for the bridge opening is Friday, December 16. We apologise for the error in last week’s edition.


IN response to Ian Richardson’s letter “Remembrance” (D&S Times, Nov 25), I had no need to do my homework.

The point of my letter was to make the distinction between rugby and football.

The fact still remains that rugby training was cancelled because it was Remembrance Sunday but a very noisy football match, which I could clearly hear, was taking place whilst the Northallerton Remembrance Parade and Service was taking place.

Maybe I am old fashioned and out of touch but regardless of whatever rules and regulations are in place I find playing any sport on Remembrance Sunday morning highly inappropriate.

Given the scale of the losses in the two world wars and the subsequent and ongoing conflicts a two-minute silence in the middle of a game is a wholly inadequate response.

Is it really too much to ask that no sport is played on one Sunday morning a year?

Robert Carter, Brompton, Northallerton.

MP’s promises

DEHENNA DAVISON has decided to quit as a Tory MP. She is only 29-years-old, so one can only assume that she fears losing her seat at the next election.

Before Ms Davison disappears from the political scene it is important to revisit the three opportunist promises that she put out in a pre-election leaflet in 2019, described as “my priorities for Bishop Auckland”.

The first priority was “bring back our A&E” to Bishop Auckland.

This of course has not occurred, and it will not happen in the foreseeable future.

On the contrary, NHS services in the area have been further run down with hospital waiting times at a record high and ambulance services are in crisis mode.

Her second priority was to “revitalise our high streets” in Bishop Auckland and Spennymoor.

Again, there is no sign of this happening and in fact Bishop Auckland’s Newgate Street has further deteriorated with the closure of Boots and Poundland.

Spennymoor has witnessed the wholesale demolition of its once thriving shopping centre.

The final priority was to “get our young people into work”.

As far as I am aware there has been no significant inward investment into Spennymoor and Bishop Auckland and most young people face a future of unskilled, low wage and insecure employment.

Young people have been leaving this area in considerable numbers for some time now and the exodus is likely to accelerate as job prospects and living standards further decline.

Three failed promises and three abject failures.

John Gilmore, Bishop Auckland.

Social care reform

AFTER the scandalous delay to the cap on care costs, getting short-changed in the Autumn Statement and years of waiting for reform, it is clear what the current Government thinks about social care.

There have been endless promises to reform social care, from political parties of all colours, and nothing has changed.

I am beginning to lose trust in politics and politicians.

It is time for change and time for a re-think on social care.

Firstly, we need to hear what our current opposition parties propose for the care of our oldest and most vulnerable.

What concrete proposals do Sir Keir Starmer and Sir Ed Davy have?

And we need to be asking all our MPs, from all parties, whether they feel the current situation is fair for hundreds of thousands of people who get care and the 1.6m people who can’t.

Mike Padgham, Chair, Independent Care Group, York.

Dementia care

RIGHT now, the families and friends of people living with dementia in the UK are providing care for their loved ones valued at £13.9 billion a year, a figure that’s projected to rise to £35.7bn by 2040.

As the cost of living crisis bites, it’s little wonder so many of these devoted carers feel uncertain about the future.

We are disappointed that Government has delayed the proposed £86,000 care cap for two years as this was a first step towards tackling crippling care costs.

We recognise the political upheaval of recent months has caused delays, not least in the delivery of the new ten-year plan for dementia in England, but further delays must be avoided.

There was some encouraging news announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in the Autumn Statement. Social care will receive £1bn in additional funding next year, and £1.7bn the year after. The Government claims this will lead to an estimated 200,000 additional care packages over next two years. This is a step in the right direction, but with pressures on all carers being intensified by the record 165,000 vacancies in social care across the UK – including 7,500 in the North East – the system is in urgent need of reform. It’s also a huge concern that diagnosis rates are at a five-year low, meaning tens of thousands are living without crucial treatment and vital support.

I would urge your readers to sign Alzheimer’s Society’s open letter to the Prime Minister asking the Government to prioritise dementia by visiting

Sir Tony Robinson, actor, writer, TV presenter and Alzheimer’s Society ambassador.

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