From the Revd David Rhodes
Sir, — I was sorry to see your report “Hunger is a raging fever” (News, 11 December) included the suggestion that many people are poor because they smoke and drink.
Two of my friends, both now dead, were both habitual drug-users. One, who was called Alison, used heroin (morphine), and the other, Brian, used alcohol. One was dying of cancer; the other was homeless. They used the drugs for exactly the same reason: pain relief.
That is why many poor people smoke and drink: to take away the pain of their situation — and the pain of the contempt poured down on them by middle-class politicians and the media. Drinking and smoking are a symptom, not a cause.
Blaming the poor for their poverty is a classic “Get out of jail free” card for the rich and powerful, who, in large part, are the real cause of that poverty and injustice, and who are often addicted to something far more pernicious than booze and fags: money.
2 Moorland Road, York YO10 4HF
From Kay Coulson
Sir, — You published (News, 11 December) an item on the progress report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger, which highlighted the extent of hunger in the UK, and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments on “the scale of food waste”.
We then read just three pages later that 40kg of prime cheese has been used to create a nativity scene. This amount of cheese could have fed 85 people at the rate of approximately half a pound each for a week. What an appalling waste!
3 The Green, Caerwnon Park
Builth Wells LD 2 3YF