I refer to the article ‘NHS debt write-off welcomed by York councillors’ (The Press, April 7).

The appreciation of this write-off by Cllr Carol Runciman fails on two major points. The first is that this debt was created when the Liberal Democrats were in coalition with the Conservatives from 2010 to 2015 when they subjected the population and the NHS to austerity. The second point is that the NHS had no debt at all: the money was owed by government-owned NHS agencies, to the government itself. This is not debt just book-keeping: a system of book-keeping created under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 passed by the earlier mentioned coalition, for which the Liberal Democrats share responsibility.

Importantly, the cancellation of the £13.4 billion loans does not in itself put any extra money into the coffers of cash-strapped trusts: they could not have paid the debts off anyway.

As various sources have pointed out there are over 100 NHS trusts that have between them another £51 billion to pay on their Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects.

A cancellation of that massive PFI debt might demonstrate that those supporters of the 2012 Act and the austerity budgeting since 2010 are grateful to the National Health Service and all its workers.

The 2012 Act, along with austerity economics, is the reason that the NHS is struggling to deal with Covid-19. There were over 100,000 staff vacancies at the start of 2020.

The NHS was being run down to prepare it for sell-off to private companies.

If we truly want to thank our NHS staff we should fund the service properly.

Mick Phythian,

Sandy Lane,

Stockton-on-the-Forest, York

Might other countries be massaging their figures?

I am getting a little bit sick of our television news media continually criticising our government for their actions or inaction in dealing with the horrific pandemic that is Covid-19 and emphasising how badly we compare to other countries.

Has it not occurred to them that the news and figures being given out by these governments just might be massaged a little to appease their own citizens? History has shown that certain nations have a proven track record on such matters.

G C Hill,

Anne Street, York

Try to keep smiling in these hard times

I hope you`re all keeping well. It`s very hard isn’t it?

I am self isolating and having a good sort out, which needed doing!

If you`re doing the same and have anything to raise funds for the Ear Trust and our deaf little ones, email me on eunice.birch@ btinternet.com

The auction house are still selling for me but online now. Try to keep smiling - and thank you!

Eunice Birch,

Sutton on Forest, York