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Letter: Squalid public

Sir: Polly Toynbee (1 January) has revived the debate about private affluence and public squalor, citing London Underground as an example. Increased government expenditure, we were told, would make travel more pleasant. If only life were that simple.

The network recently introduced some attractive new trains, and of course we could do with more. But greater public expenditure does not compel drivers to turn up for work. Nor does it prevent passengers from scattering the new upholstery and floors with litter, spraying the exteriors with graffiti, causing noise pollution with mobile phones, and travelling in clothes scruffy enough for a Communist republic.

Public squalor is as much a matter of private choices as of public expenditure.


Pinner, Middlesex