TRACEY Simpson-Laing says definitions of poverty are changing and that washing machines, fridges, mobile phones and internet are now essential household items (Letters, January 13).

I can appreciate this view but a starving individual in a third-world famine might disagree.

Could the deputy leader of the council now tell us whether 40 cigs a day, six cans of lager, widescreen sky television, junk-food takeaways and piercing on a tattooed body are also indispensable items for modern living? This is not an attack on the poor; nor is it demonisation of any group. It is a legitimate question.

Does Coun Simpson Laing believe the lack of these things constitutes a state of poverty? A straight yes or no will suffice.

Matthew Laverack, Lord Mayor’s Walk York.


• GRAEME Robertson states in his apology to Matthew Laverack that he had 63 letters published in last year’s Press. As a regular reader I’d like to say that it felt like an awful lot more.

Tony Eves, Margaret Philipson Court, Aldwark, York.