Readers' letters - January 3

The House of Lords
The House of Lords
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‘Drunk as Lords ... and we’re footing the bill’

The Peers have been living it up at taxpayers’ expense this Christmas.
The Lords’ 2016 winter bar bill comes in at £70,000 – all paid for by us.
Unelected peers spent an incredible £1m across a number of bars in the archaic institution.
The public will be shocked that unelected peers pick up £300 a day, then get merry at our expense.
Or are we no longer shocked anymore?
Surely this useless institution should go for good?
They also use our money for luxury food in the Peers’ dining room, where they can eat pressed game terrine with baby leek and dandelion salad and slow cooked ox cheek with Irish champ mash, heritage carrot and salsa verde.
One life peer described the chamber as the best day care centre for the elderly in London.
The whole lot is disgraceful when millions are using food banks and poverty is on the rise.
We must all be questioning why it is that this bunch of unelected scroungers, who get paid too much in the first place for just attending Parliament, can claim £1m of taxpayers’ money to spend on booze?
This apparent corruption at the top of the establishment never ceases to amaze.
Royston Jones
Address supplied

Give unwanted presents to Barnardo’s

Recycle your unsuitable Christmas gifts and help vulnerable children at the same time is the message from children’s charity Barnardo’s.
Barnardo’s is appealing for those ‘not quite right’ gifts from the festive season to be donated to their chain of shops so they can be sold to raise vital funds.
The money will be used to help disadvantaged children and young people, including those who are living in poverty, who are disabled or who have been sexually exploited.
It is estimated that over £2.4bn worth of gifts given at Christmas are deemed unsuitable, with a third of those ending up gathering dust in the back of a cupboard.
A recent survey revealed that 31 per cent of adults have been insulted by a present, 13 per cent said they returned and swapped gifts they didn’t like and 18 per cent “regifted” them to someone else.
A poll found that the selfie stick is considered to be one of the least sought after present by 45 per cent of us, followed by musical socks at 43 per cent, bathroom scales at 34 per cent and a set of saucepans or animal slippers at 26 per cent.
Barnardo’s stores are dependent upon the public’s kind donations.
Our profits go directly into our work with some of the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people.
If you receive a gift at Christmas that you know you won’t use then please think of Barnardo’s.
Your unsuitable gift could be enjoyed by someone else whilst benefiting the children who need it most.
Barnardo’s has 715 shops nationwide.
Shoppers can buy items including collectibles, household goods, books, toys, children’s clothes, books, accessories as well as men’s and ladies’ fashions.
To find out more information about Barnardo’s work, how to donate or to find a store near you, please visit www.barnardos.org.uk/shop.
Adam Berry
Area business manager for Barnardo’s

Get vegetarian alternatives

I have just read a disturbing article that states that as many as 22 per cent of adults don’t know what bacon really is.
A few months ago it had been found that five per cent of children thought that milk came from pigs (not cows).
Frightening?
I think so.
Surely we should all make ourselves aware of where all our food comes from and how it is farmed.
We should then be prepared to take some of the responsibility for the working conditions of the people involved in its production, and, of course, for the lives and suffering of the animals which are eaten.
Something brilliant that could help them would be a new app called Veggie Alternatives.
It is so easy to use, you simply put in what you want to eat and it gives you lots of veggie alternatives.
This was devised by a brilliant 16-year-old student.
P Ward
via email