Readers' letters - April 23

Make rates more realistic and bring towns back to life

Friday, 4th May 2018, 6:32 pm
Updated Friday, 4th May 2018, 6:36 pm
A correspondent suggests that there would be fewer empty premises if rates were cheaper

Our local communities now have many empty and boarded up shops without anyone asking if this is really necessary. In a free market economy, the property values, rents and rates should fall to a value at which it is possible to run a small business and perhaps provide a home in these empty premises. At present, it requires a high weekly turnover to generate the profit required to pay the fixed costs of a retail business. If the cost structure was more realistic, our towns and cities could return to looking much more attractive than the present appearance of dereliction and decay. Internet companies may take a greater market share but retail therapy will always be a popular leisure activity.Paul BrownAddress supplied

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It’s a jungle, not Garden of EdenI assume that Royston Jones (WP Letters, April 18) has sent a copy of his letter to Putin and Assad, for it is they who are responsible for the murderous war in Syria. It is Assad who has used gas attacks on his own people. It is Putin and the Iranian regime who have supplied him with weapons and other military equipment. It is Russian planes that are bombing and strafing targets in Syria. The West’s involvement has been to carry out limited and precision missile strikes, not against children but against Assad’s chemical sites. To describe this as a ‘gung-ho’ foreign policy is not only absurd, it reveals Royston Jones ideological bent. Note he does not describe Russia’s actions as ‘gung-ho’. He, like the hapless Corbyn, who is currently enmeshed in his failure to address anti-semitic views in the Labour Party, omits to mention that a political solution to this ghastly seven-year war has been thwarted again and again by Russia’s use of the veto in the Security Council. Russia does not want to see this war end until the dictator Assad has destroyed opponents to his evil regime. Royston Jones, like all who are ignorant of the real international system, is unable to understand that it is a jungle, not a Garden of Eden. In the jungle are some very, very nasty people. Asking them to sit round a table and have a cup of tea is akin to baying at the moon. You don’t stop tyrants by turning the other cheek. Colonel (retired) Barry Claytonvia emailInvisible disabilitiesNews this week that a young woman was thrown out of a JD Wetherspoon establishment when her disability was mistaken for drunkenness, sadly does not come as a surprise to the millions of us who live with invisible disabilities. The pub apologised to Grace Currie, but the incident shows the need for greater awareness of hidden disabilities.I, along with 120,000 others in the UK who live with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), a neurological condition, often with no visible signs, know how Grace must have felt, having had similar experiences. Some of us use wheelchairs or scooters, but those who don’t have any visibly obvious mobility aids find themselves having to ‘prove’ their disability. While often the result of ignorance rather than pre-conceived malice, this is cold comfort if you already fear to venture out, knowing you will face transport struggles and potential humiliation.Invisible disability makes it hard for people to accept there is a problem, but mistakes and misunderstandings would be reduced if we all took a moment to think before jumping to conclusions. People with PPS and other hidden disabilities don’t want special privileges or pity, just to be able to live our lives with our pride intact. We can all drink to that. Anyone who needs The British Polio Fellowship’s help can visit or call 0800 043 1935.David Mitchell National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship