Letter: Christmas gifts

Sir: Monica Hall (letter, 21 December) has every right to her views on begging, and she may well have had a few unpleasant experiences when travelling in London, as have we all.

However, she gives no facts to back up her statement, albeit tentative, that "most of ,the beggars working the Tube are probably no worse off than the rest of us." She is probably going home to a warm house, a family, food on the table - I know no more about her than she of those she so glibly dismisses.

Her comments on Christian charity are sadly awry. True Christian charity involves precisely the indiscriminate, non-judgmental handing out of everything we have and more besides - time, money and energy - to help others. It is not for us to decide who is in need - let the good Lord do that - it is our own consciences we have to attend to.

Her comments on the existence of charities to help those in need remind me of the seasonal classic whose main character asks: "Are there no prisons? And the union workhouses ... and the treadmill and the poor law, are they in full vigour?"

JOANNA WALLER

Whitstable, Kent

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