We face a bleak future if the government doesn’t address the benefits system

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Monday 21 September 2020 18:55
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Coronavirus deaths will rise to hundreds a day if second wave continues, Vallance warns

With the eviction ban and furlough likely to end, the country is facing a catastrophe of poverty, need and homelessness. As a benefits adviser I know the system is failing. People are already in council tax debt because universal credit has failed as a catch-all benefit. Maximum backdating for all benefits needs to go back to the way it was – 12 months at the very least. 

We face a bleak future if the government doesn’t address the benefits system, just as many new claimants join.

I see little funding going to the advice centres that will pick up the pieces and actually save the UK billions. The country of the blind, eh!

Gary Martin

London E17

We all share responsibility

Your editorial states there are “a tiny minority of people who will flout the rules”.

My impression, supported by images in news programmes and photographs over the past weeks in your paper, would suggest the numbers are considerably more than that. It is not only the government’s poor handling of the pandemic that is to blame.

Ken Carruthers  

Tadley

A low bar

If John Rentoul truly believes that Dido Harding has done “an impressive job in impossible circumstances” then it would be a big step up in competence after her dismal record at TalkTalk and other companies, not to mention her membership of the Jockey Club board, which gave the go-ahead for the Cheltenham races.

Martin Heaton

Cheshire

Yes, but when?

The country is being warned that “Boris Johnson may address the country as early as tomorrow”. Why is our government so incapable of sending a firm, clear and straightforward message to the people it governs?

If there is a serious problem which requires our prime minister to speak to us, then such an address should be specifically announced: which day, what time, on which media. It should be pushed at us through all possible means via broadcast TV, radio, streaming TV, social media and done so at the same time.

Then there might be a slim chance that people would hear the message. Of course, what he says and how he says it are also rather important...

Nick Haward

Havant  

Cheer up

What could be more unreasonable than the demands of the first ministers of Wales and Scotland that the prime minister of the UK make time to discuss with them measures to combat Covid-19? He is far too busy.

Boris Johnson’s childhood dream was to be king of the world, but for now he has to content himself with working hard to take over the role of the Queen of merely the UK. For that he has to dash round the country, posing with workers of all trades and for photographs, bravely performing tasks for which he has no training and probably no skill.

Anyway, he has given us Dominic Cummings to carry out the political stuff, a man who, though unelected, has shown his worth through the government’s prowess in eliminating Covid-19 and also, personally, in his way of adhering to government guidelines. As Jacob Rees-Mogg reminds us, we should be celebrating, not complaining.

Elizabeth Wood

Braunton, North Devon

Save British farming

It is reported that many chemicals which are banned in Britain will be used on our food if the government does a deal with the US farming lobby. A last-ditch battle is under way to get safeguards as the agriculture bill makes its way through the House of Commons.  

This discussion is expected to be on 28 September. So far, the government has rejected MPs’ and peers’ proposed amendments to keep the UK’s higher standards of animal husbandry and environmental care. It will come at a huge cost to our health, countryside and animals. UK farmers will find it impossible to compete and will go out of business. (Visit savebritishfarming.org)      

US poultry is washed in chlorine as their birds are kept in overcrowded squalor and pumped with chemicals during their brief lives. Sixty million US pigs are treated with the antibiotic Carbadox to promote growth, which is banned in UK, and US cattle are fed steroid growth hormones.  

So-called “cheap” food has brought obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Covid-19 has shown the need for a reliable food supply – but this can’t be achieved if we ruin our own farmers!  

A Wills

London

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