Letter: Town or country

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Sir: As one who has lived in the country all my life, I am mystified by Mr Resheph's attack (letters, 28 January).

It is true, no doubt, that much of England's wealth is contained in towns and in their industries. Yet Mr Resheph's vision of an idle rural idyll is grossly unjust. Agriculture, which is necessarily a country business, is far from being the practice of the idle rich. It is extremely hard work, with long hours and uncertain benefits. Only in resent years can England no longer produce enough food to feed her population, but the value of what she does produce should not be undermined.

Town taxes may subsidise rural healthcare, but rural taxes subsidise the arts, which are largely inaccessible to rural populations without recourse to public transport (where available) or private cars.

The country lifestyle is in many ways a tough one, and yes, it is less lucrative and so generates less taxes. By Mr Resheph's reasoning countryside should be dispensed with and Britain turned into a single city, ensuring parity of access and contribution. Indeed, not only should the town not subsidise the healthcare and education of the country, but the whole social support scheme should be abolished. Why should people who earn money pay to support the "spoilt" unemployed and disabled? I cannot believe that this is what he intends.

It is important to recognise that different lifestyles have different contributions to make. The country, perhaps, has cause to be grateful to the cities, but the relationship between town and country should be that of willing partnership rather than petty antagonism.

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