Ticket offices: Your article highlighted the proposed closure of station ticket offices in our area, “Anger at mass-closure plan for rail station ticket offices” (D&S Times, July 7).

For Northallerton station, not only is the ticket office to close, but a severe cut in staffing hours is also proposed,

From the current closing time of 6.45pm Monday to Saturday, it will close at 2pm Monday to Friday, and 3pm on a Saturday.

Not only will this mean that staff are not available to assist passengers, but also the waiting rooms and toilets will be locked.

The Rail Delivery Group say that closing ticket offices will bring staff out from behind the glass to adopt new "customer help" roles.

It is hard to see this happening with the severe cutback in staffed hours.

There is a very short public consultation on these proposals of only 21 days which ends on July 26.

TransPennine Express manages Northallerton station and Transport Focus ask that comments on these proposals for Northallerton be sent either by email to TicketOffice.TPE@transportfocus.org.uk or in writing to the freepost address: RTEH-XAGE-BYKZ, Transport Focus, PO Box 5594, Southend on Sea, SS1 9PZ.

Barbara Hazeldine, Northallerton.

Water cheek

YORKSHIRE WATER'S spokesman says that fixing storm overflows would be “disruptive and costly to customers” – “Residents in plea to ‘Save Our Swale’” (D&S Times, July 7).

“Costly to customers”? What a cheek.

We customers have routinely paid Yorkshire Water to carry out such servicing and upgrading over the 40-plus years of the company's existence.

If it did its job properly and didn’t spend £45m on dividends, it might not now be looking such an obvious candidate for nationalisation.

Nicholas Reckert, Richmond.

Bus services

THE incompetence of some organisations is amazing.

Arriva buses in the North East recently threatened to withdraw a number of services after July 8. There has to my knowledge been no information from them to the public.

Reports in the press have indicated that further funding has been found to subsidise the service (presumably what Arriva were hoping for) and those services would be maintained – at least for the time being.

It seems however that Arriva are unaware of the agreement or alternatively the reports from the press and local authorities is wrong.

There were today (Sunday) no buses on route four in Darlington and presumably on other threatened services.

Is it too much to expect to have the not travelling public provided with information about availability of buses? Many rely on buses for work etc.

Can someone from this supposed public service explain?

Eric A Wilson, Darlington.

Stifling consumerism

BOTH the Conservative and Labour parties seem to believe that if we have continuous high levels of economic growth our inflation problems will be solved.

However, there cannot be infinite growth in a world that has finite resources.

By continuing to grow our economy we are exacerbating many whole world issues such as climate change, resource depletion, biodiversity loss, deforestation, inequality, and habitat destruction.

We need to see the world as a whole, not just from a British perspective.

Less consumerism will reduce demand for goods which in turn will help to reduce inflation.

Everybody needs to accept that we should have enough for our needs, not for our wants.

If we don’t accept the idea of “enoughness” soon there will not be a world fit in which to live.

We have to find other ways of dealing with inflation.

At the moment, company directors and shareholders push for greater profit every year which in turn pushes up the cost of things like electricity, water, rents and food in the supermarkets to name but a few.

We need to change the goal of businesses from profit for the few to quality of life for the many, together with sustainability, both for the company and the world as a whole.

John Rising, Thornton Watlass.

Youngest MP quits

IT is a sad day when our youngest MP decides to quit because of the “toxic environment” of Westminster.

SNP MP Mhairi Black, 28, will stand down at the next election.

Already SNP deputy leader in the Commons, she has cut short a promising career.

She says that Westminster is “one of the most unhealthy workplaces that you could ever be in”.

Sincere, dynamic and committed, Mhairi will use her talents elsewhere.

At the same time, a leading Tory, former cabinet minister Sajid Javid says MP’s salaries should be doubled to £172,000 a year.

He says that the salary of £86,000 a year is partly to blame for a lack of talent in government positions, although ministers are paid more.

Many MPs take on other jobs, saying it “keeps them in touch with the real world” or that they “can’t manage” on £86,000 per annum.

In no other walk of life can you take two or three days a week off to do another job and still get full pay and considerable benefits.

Mr Javid derides people who earn less than £86,000 outside parliament because, according to him, it shows they are not up to the job as MPs or ministers.

If you want to earn big money and enjoy a lavish lifestyle, you should not be an MP. Your motivation should be solely to serve the public, not line your own pockets as so many MPs and ministers do.

No wonder the public are totally disillusioned with MPs and the whole political system.

Chris Foote-Wood, Barnard Castle.

Fight for NHS

THE 75th anniversary of the NHS was an occasion for nationwide celebrations, as well as carping and sneering from much of the media.

In spite of its many shortcomings, inflicted by austerity policies and deliberate Tory and Blairite undermining, without the NHS the health of the mass of the British people would be immeasurably worse.

There's no question the NHS has struggled to adjust to 21st Century demands.

Patient expectations sometimes place almost intolerable burdens on its staff and facilities.

However, that the NHS delivers value for money is not in doubt.

What is in doubt is will it survive? Arch-privatiser Nigel Lawson described the NHS as a secular religion but more and more people feel forced to go private; up a third since 2019.

The NHS faces two main threats: under-investment and privatisation.

Conservative and some Labour politicians claim the NHS is unaffordable but the UK spends 20 per cent less than France and a quarter less than Germany, on healthcare.

Both countries have insurance-based systems. Our system is hamstrung by extortionate PFI contracts, the greed of "big Pharma" and enormous spends on agency staff.

Many in the British political establishment would like to turn our health service into a mere brand name.

This would be a betrayal of Bevan's vision of a service providing care irrespective of the ability to pay.

There are two solutions to what is an undeniable crisis.

A serious increase in investment and an end to parasitical private sector involvement.

We should support NHS workers in their disputes and in their broader fight for our NHS.

C Walker, Darlington.

Anniversary celebration

ON Thursday, August 3, Middlesbrough Sea Cadets are proud to be celebrating 50 years since the formation of the Girls Nautical Training Corps (GNTC) which was formed in 1973 by Margaret Dungay – and I was honoured to assist her as her Third Officer.

GNTC had been started in 1955, in London, but one or two of the older officers in TS Jupiter, were reticent to allow girls into the Corps they thought it would distract the boys and so it was not until 1973 that it actually happened.

The GNTC then merged in the 1990s with boys making them into an inclusive Sea Cadet Corps (SCC).

To celebrate the 50 years of our girls being given the same opportunities as boys we are holding a church service with Father Glyn Holland at All Saint's Church, Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough on Thursday, August 3 at 7pm. Doors will be open at 6.45pm to allow people to be seated.

Afterwards there will be refreshments over at the Town Hall where the bar will be open.

If you would like to attend or require any further information, please feel free to contact me at any time on 01642 294349 or 07759 107318.

Liz Chambers, vice chairman TS Erimus Unit 241, Middlesbrough Sea Cadets.

Patient relations

"WHAT I've loved about being a GP is that your patients become almost like friends because you see them over such a long time."

Twice, recently, I have come across an observation like this.

I have lived in Darlington and used the same practice for over 40 years and never once seen the same GP on consecutive visits.

Admittedly, I've rarely had reason to visit the surgery which was just as well since the practice in question has a pretty spectacular turnover of doctors and in that period has gone from six to three of them.

Two months ago I asked specifically to see a doctor and ended up with a nurse and a blood test and a talk on diabetes (three separate visits!) but was told absolutely nothing about the reason I'd come in the first place.

When I asked, I was advised to make an appointment with someone qualified to tell me: a... doctor.

I managed to do so.

She was young and pleasant and hadn't a clue what was the matter, describing me, instead, as "atypical" and directing me to the musculoskeletal service in the Dolphin Centre. I can do this tale in instalments, if anyone's interested!)

Jo Jones, Darlington.

Talking bins

ARTIFICIAL intelligence has at last made its ugly appearance in my hometown, Whitby: the waste bins now have a recorded message – spoken in a strong USA dialect – thanking users for depositing their litter inside it.

Is this a kind of brainwashing, the kind that scientists are worried about? Yes! And a stupid gimmick as well.

The logical extension of this idea will be for the council to equip local public conveniences with a similar message.

We can suggest that an automatically recorded voice could in the future provide toilet users with a message something along the lines of the following: “Gentlemen, please remember to lift the seat. Thank you for downloading on these facilities today. Please remember to wipe your posterior if necessary, and don’t forget to flush the facilities after use. Your personal hand-wash can be seen in the bowl to the left. We hope you enjoyed your time spent with us here. Have a nice day!”

Returning to the litter bins with their idiotic recorded messages – we feel obliged to point out a small oversight on the part of the bins’ designers: the door covering each bin, giving access inside it, appears to be too stiff and difficult for young children to open. They will have no option but to leave their discarded sweetie wrappers in the road – obliging some weary council employee to toil with an antiquated bristle brush and pan in the labour-intensive but time-honoured chore of their removal.

Dr Alastair Laurence, Whitby.

Different generation

IT baffles me that the "woke" generation who are telling us what to think and what not to do are responsible for the epidemic of knife carrying and stabbings.

K Harris, Barnard Castle.