When I read that Dr Sentamu was heading the campaign to stamp out poverty, aided by “the best brains in York”, I thought: “Wow! Things are really happening.” Then, as the weeks rolled by, I noticed that poverty was still with us, just as that old-time preacher gloomily predicted.
I have to rely on the make-do brains that God hath parsimoniously supplied, but I will hand out my suggestions. They might appeal as an interim measure.
Homelessness: As far as York is concerned, this is an easy one. Instead of turning John Harper’s splendid crescent into an opulent holiday pad for the five-star rich, retain it as accommodation for the city’s homeless. This would respect Harper’s original intention as residential property and fit in with the Cultural Quarter “vision”.
Poverty: The poor should be treated like criminals. That is to say, they should be guaranteed a home, free heating and a healthy diet.
Debt: Debtors should be treated like illegal immigrants. That is to say, they should be granted an amnesty every so often. Usury should be made illegal, and loan sharks made to reimburse their victims.
William Dixon Smith, Welland Rise, Acomb, York.