We should not be spending money renovating parliament buildings – simply move MPs elsewhere

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Friday 12 March 2021 19:53
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<p>The sun sets behind the Victoria Tower at the Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament</p>

The sun sets behind the Victoria Tower at the Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament

The staggering cost of the renovations to parliament, which will increase, can be easily cut. Simply move the staff and components to a brand new state of the art building on a less expensive site.

It would solve the problem, and be a splendid example of “levelling up”. There are numerous areas which would welcome them with open arms. The current buildings would be a brilliant museum and a huge revenue earner for the taxpayer.

Unfortunately, the elephant in the room is the collective egos of the elected members. I challenge any of them to find an insurmountable reason as to why the above could not be achieved.

William Park

Lytham St Annes

It’s been said many times before but it’s worth saying again that the need to carry out work on the Houses of Parliament is a once in a generation, or more probably once in centuries, opportunity to set up a new debating chamber that might discourage the schoolboy shouting matches we’ve experienced for so long.

How many advanced democracies across the world function in chambers designed to encourage angry disagreement rather than constructive debate?

When our hereditary sovereignty is also suddenly in the spotlight again we have a real opportunity, but not for long, to step boldly into a more mature, humane and even democratic 21st century. The old buildings are wonderful historic monuments and should be put where they belong, in our history.

David Buckton

Cambridge

All men must look at their behaviour

The great majority of men do not pose a physical threat to women. But there is a significant minority who subscribe to the laddish culture of down-putting and mockery. And there are many more who, in the presence of such verbal abuse, say and do nothing.

That is what fundamentally needs to change. The law can only do so much in the face of societal malaise. Boys and girls need to learn from an early age that “just joking” does not justify cruelty and that bad behaviour nearly always arises from a position of weakness.

Therefore, far from flaunting his manhood, a verbal or physical  abuser is merely demonstrating his personal deficiency to the world at large.

Susan Alexander

South Gloucestershire

Flight of fancy over tax

Steven Fogel (Letters, 12 March) makes the extraordinary proposal of a tax on air travel that increases with each journey one makes in a year. This would be a bureaucratic nightmare to administer.

He suggests that a modest levy for the first flight “would ensure social justice”.  Does he perhaps make just one flight a year?

If flights are to be taxed, they should all be taxed at an appropriate rate, and in a way that is simple to administer. No one would seriously propose that smokers, say, should pay a low duty on their first pack of the year (to “ensure social justice”) which would increase gradually for each subsequent pack. Or that alcohol be taxed this way.

Michael Clarke

North Somerset

Hidden impact of Covid

Cancer patients find themselves let down by the NHS due to Boris Johnson’s policy of solely focusing on Covid.

Boris Johnson allowed Christmas to go ahead, ignored calls to bring in travel restrictions, and was slow to impose a national lockdown despite knowing about the new deadly variant that spiralled Covid-19 cases out of control in the second wave and overwhelmed the NHS to the point of collapse. His actions have now resulted in the NHS waiting list reaching a record-high backlog of 4.6 million, affecting key services including cancer and routine surgery.

It is now going to take a major effort for the overexhausted NHS workforce, on a measly 1 per cent pay rise, to reduce the shocking waiting list and may take many years to clear at the cost of patients’ lives.

The situation can only get worse if we encounter another wave as restrictions are lifted and people ignore the guidelines. There is a real danger that cancer patients may become the forgotten tragedy of the 21st century.

Jeannette Schael

Hampshire

More work for Robert Jenrick

I was pleased to read that the government has agreed to “call in” the decision on the Cumbria coal mine. It’s obvious that a project which will cause such a large amount of additional greenhouse gases is not a purely local matter.

Equally, the proposed expansion of Leeds Bradford airport would cause a major increase in greenhouse gases. Airport expansion also flatly contradicts the recommendations of the Sixth Carbon Budget that there should be “no net expansion” of UK airport capacity.

Local campaigners and MPs from both Labour and Conservative parties have asked Robert Jenrick, the same secretary of state who called in the Cumbria coal mine, to call in Leeds Bradford airport. Surely, he now has to hold a public inquiry on LBA because the reasons are so similar?

Nick Hodgkinson

Leeds

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