Cash is still king: Despite what some might consider the benefits of a cashless economy, Tim Sinclair gives us a timely warning about some of the tougher consequences of losing our high street banks, making it harder to receive and therefore spend physical money, “Cashless society” (D&S Times letters, Apr 21).

However, we must do our utmost to spend cash wherever we can.

Once we become cashless, how will we save for a rainy day; sell unwanted item for cash; tip waiters and hairdressers; participate in car boot sales, or markets; give fivers to the grandchildren; coins for the homeless or give to buskers, the tooth fairy or piggy banks?

How will we learn to budget; and indeed, how will we maintain financial privacy?

Every penny received will be recorded. Every transaction tracked. Access to our money will be owned and controlled by the state, as will the ultimate decision as to how and where we spend it.

If we lose cash, all money will be programmably digital, dependent upon the internet – vulnerable to cyber attacks, power, cuts, and technical failures.

Cash represents our freedom. Let’s make sure we keep using it, so we don’t end up losing it.

Susan Holden, Richmond.

Royal alternatives

READING of a recent royal visit by King Charles, a number of anti-monarchy protesters began shouting “not my king” – however their voices were soon drowned out by a group of school children cheering and shouting “God save the King”; this must have really embarrassed these protesters.

Then I got thinking of why these people would want to do away with the monarchy for an elected president and would they still protest if the elected president was not to their liking? So who could be put forward as a president elect, would it be a TV celebrity or a recent politician? It makes one wonder – and would anyone be interested?

Maybe we could see if Simon Cowell had the X Factor? Or Ant and Dec as they seem to be doing everything else.

In the political sphere what about Tony Blair? But some people think he was a war criminal.

Or maybe Jeremy Corbyn? But he was a disaster for Labour.

What about Theresa May? But she was useless as a Home Secretary and a worse Prime Minister.

Then there is Liz Truss. But we would want someone in the position longer than 49 days.

Of course we have Boris Johnson and he is popular in other countries, well maybe not in Russia.

Me personally, I’ll stick with the monarchy. They may not be perfect and they try to stay non-political and with all the pomp and ceremony we are the envy of the world, God Save the King.

Peter Gibson, Stockton-on-Tees.

Support thanks

ON behalf of the East Witton Male Voice Choir, I would like to thank all who supported our Spring Concert on April 21, which raised £700 for Herriot Hospice Homecare. During the past year the choir has raised over £3,000 for charity.

Diana Hartley, Askrigg, Leyburn.


RECENTLY St John’s Church at the junction of Yarm Road and Neasham Road in Darlington closed to further religious services.

This church I believe was called the railwaymen’s church in days gone by.

The church was fronted with two wrought iron gates no doubt having been there since the church was built.

On walking past last week I noticed that one of the double gates had disappeared. The church has two entrances with ornate scrolled hinges and knocker, how long will it be before this ironwork disappears?

How unscrupulous, discerning and low down can people get that they are unable to leave items alone that belong to the church.

No doubt the gate was taken away during hours of darkness.

D Reed, Darlington.

A great show

AMATEUR theatre shows are second best to professional productions, right? Wrong! I saw Darlington Operatic Society’s performance of Grease recently at Darlington Hippodrome.

It was brilliant. No professional cast could better or even match it.

I estimated about 60 performers on stage for the big numbers. A paid cast on that scale would demand three figure ticket prices. I paid £21.

It was refreshing to witness the acting and singing talent and confidence of the young cast.

Better wigs would have made it perfect. Well done to all involved.

Howard Wilson, Darlington.

Not so tough

RECENTLY, I listened to a radio programme – on Radio 4 – about the cost of living.

Listeners were invited to phone in to say how they were coping with the cost-of-living “crisis”, what they were spending their money on and what they were cutting back on.

Caller after caller said times were tough but almost without exception they said they were still going on holiday, to Portugal, Spain and even Japan.

One caller even admitted booking two holidays. Tough times indeed.

Even making allowances for the fact that a Radio 4 audience will never be entirely representative of the population it did set me thinking about the extent to which this “crisis” is overstated – particularly by our television media.

I would not dispute that for a significant proportion of the population that times are hard – but for the vast majority they are not.

Yes, belt tightening is necessary but this is hardly the Great Depression.

Some perspective is required in how we think about the state of the country. Given that we have been through a pandemic, unprecedented in the way it shut the economy down, and then our country’s support for Ukraine, which the majority of citizens back but is not without cost to us as a nation and as individuals, the UK is not in such a dire state as some would suggest.

This so-called Broken Britain narrative is a false one.

Everyone has to shoulder some of the burden, collectively grit our teeth and get through it, which we will.

That applies to striking public sector workers like teachers, or nurses, and pensioners like myself.

No-one should think they have some entitlement to being immune from the impact of world events which no-one could have predicted.

Trevor Sellars, Bedale.

Planning rules

WHERE is the common sense in planning?

Surely if thousands of new builds in the area are to be argued as necessary, though many like myself believe it to be merely “council tax farming”, there should be some joined up thinking with “solar farming”.

It beggars belief that as a rural borough, Darlington appears to have built well above its housing need (yet still they come) and as I see more and more green fields covered in housing.

Yet, there is not a single enforceable planning regulation in place to put solar power on their roofs! However, I’m hearing about a large cluster of solar farms being proposed across yet more of the lovely countryside and farmland in our area.

In times of Brexit are we not supposed to be growing our own? What farmland will be left to grow from?

Why is it necessary to build a sea of houses and a sea of solar?

I’m all for green renewable energy but where is the common sense joined up thinking?

In this climate crisis, damage limitation should be key in all new builds yet there appears no method in the madness.

Further to the this, why is planning permission for housing developments even given prior to vital services being in place?

Surely the planning regulations should state no new builds (certainly when in their hundreds) should be allowed unless developers ensure investment in schools, GPs, dentists, transport etc.

In the borrowed bones of a recent joke I heard (author unknown) – “it’s not rocket science”. Although to be fair sending a rocket into space is a most definitely easier than getting an appointment at your GP these days.

Name supplied, Darlington.

Bitter pill

IN 2010 when the comedy coalition double act of David Cameron and Nick Clegg shook hands in the Downing Street Rose Garden there were just 35 foodbanks in the whole of the UK.

How harmless that figure seemed back then compared to today’s less than rosy figure of just over 2,500 foodbanks.

In April 2013 George Osborne delivered his brutal budget of austerity, cracking the whip on disability claimants, carving child benefit to the bone and creating a cruel cocktail of poverty wages and zero-hours contracts.

In 2013 no-one had ever heard of Daniel Blake. Now the North East, where the 2016 film took a brutal take on welfare reform, wins the prize for foodbank capital of Britain.

Ten years on from Osborne’s austerity budget, the Government continue to boast the best way out of poverty is work. But how much of a myth is this? We have fancy slogans like the gig economy, or should that be the fib economy because no-one can survive on eight to 12 hours a week work.

We now live in a fire-and-re-hire society, waiting by the phone for a few hours’ graft for firms that offer no working rights.

Recently we had a Bank of England guru Huw Pill (annual salary £190,000) giving us needy souls a lecture on economics claiming that ‘’people should accept being worse off’’.

For most that’s a bitter pill to swallow.

So the rich get richer while the poor have to just accept being poorer.

Stephen Dixon, Redcar.

Advancing years

IT’S no fun getting old, friends from years ago get less, and health issues seem to be in abundance when you get to certain age.

For me it’s not being able to do things I have done for years without thinking about like gardening and house maintenance.

I miss not being able to go up a ladder anymore, so keep smiling and drink plenty of water.

GO Wright, Sadberge.

Run appreciation

THANK YOU everyone who turned out to support our “It’s okay to talk” run in South Park last Wednesday evening.

It was good to see over 100 runners there on a beautiful family friendly evening.

We raised £1,432 and will get matched funding up to £1,000 thanks to Barclays Bank.

Thanks also to Darlington Harriers for organising the run, in memory of our ex-volunteer Marjorie Lockett.

Lillian Howell, fundraising officer for Darlington and District Samaritans.