RICHARD BRIDGE answers on behalf of Coun Simpson-Laing whether or not a lack of cigarettes, alcohol and other non-essential items constitutes a state of poverty. (Letters, January 25).

In his cost analysis of commodities, the hopeful Labour candidate failed to include satellite TV, tattoos and body piercings as part of the “ordinary living patterns” that he says must be included in any assessment of “multiple levels of deprivation”. Although avoiding a straight yes or no answer, Mr Bridge indicates a lack of sufficient tobacco and booze, etc, must constitute an impoverished state because anyone without them might feel socially excluded.

I disagree with this opinion and I am entitled to do so without a barrage of hate-mail from intolerant anonymous commentators. I do not disparage anyone who consumes these products. This is supposed to be a free country and I support the right of individuals to live as they wish. I simply do not accept that a lack of these items is a genuine example of impoverishment.

“Relative poverty” to me is poverty in relation to the genuine deprivation that some of my generation suffered in post-war years; the far worse hardship that my parents went through and, more importantly, the real poverty that afflicts so many millions in the third world today.

Matthew Laverack, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York.


• THE Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlight inadequate disposable income yet politicians do absolutely nothing. Politicians ought to shape up to their responsibility of eradicating poverty from Britain.

They should introduce payments to all British adult citizens, graduated taxation and a national non-for profit bank offering cheap inheritance-mortgages for first-time British buyers and affordable rent.

Citizens’ payments of £150 per week could replace most benefits and state pensions for British people. Young British people would receive this payment in return for their employment with small and medium enterprises.

Citizens’ payments would provide a sustainable substantial lift to all adults, massively boosting the economy and successful self-employment and along with affordable rent negate excessive benefits payments.

Banishing poverty is easy. What are politicians waiting for or do they sadistically relish that people struggle to make ends meet facing eviction if not for housing benefits and not having two pennies to rub together in disposable income?

Tom Scaife, Manor Drive, York.