March 24 Letters: Tobacco firms are part of the solution

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From: Giles Rocca, Director General, Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association.

IT is encouraging that litter is again being put high on the national agenda (“Time to clean up our act or count the cost of litter”, The Yorkshire Post, March 20). I agree with the Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry’s conclusion that a national litter strategy is needed if this country is fully to get to grips with the issue which has blighted many communities.

We are pleased that the committee has recognised the work that the tobacco industry does in the UK to address the issue of smoking-related litter and also that councils are free to work with the industry to deliver such change. We would be happy to explore smoking-related litter reduction initiatives with local councils and community groups in Yorkshire and elsewhere.

The tobacco industry believes that smokers should take personal responsibility for their litter and we have taken steps to encourage this by distributing free portable ashtrays.

Tobacco taxation makes a substantial contribution to Government revenue – about £12bn last year. However, ring fencing this for local authorities to spend on litter reduction would be an inefficient means of delivering effective litter policy change. Apart from which, how this is spent is a matter for the Treasury. The industry looks forward to being an active part of the litter solution – within the context of a national litter strategy – which will be crucial to its success.

Credit due to 
Marie Curie

From: Carole Bullock, Hutton Cranswick, Driffield.

HAVING read Tom Richmond’s column (The Yorkshire Post, March 14), I wholeheartedly agree with him that the care provided for terminally-ill patients in totally inadequate.

Your columnist mentioned in passing other charities doing their best to help. I was very disappointed that he completely failed to mention the end-of- life care given to very many thousands of people by the Marie Curie organisation. They specialise in caring for the terminally-ill, not only cancer sufferers, to enable them to die in their own homes. This month is the biggest push annually for funds with thousands of volunteers collecting; the familiar daffodils are to be found everywhere.

I have to add that on the numerous occasions on which my husband and I have collected outside our local supermarket in Driffield, we have always been touched by so many people making contributions, who tell us that they couldn’t have managed without the unstinting care given by Marie Curie nurses.

They give the carers a break, especially at night time. Yes the Government/NHS could and should do a great deal more, but please, a little credit where credit is due.

No excuse for dumbing down

From: Brian H Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

HOW I agree with Edward Grainger’s remarks on television’s culture of celebrity (The Yorkshire Post, March 17).

So many programmes feature people who are either famous for being famous or famous for something unrelated to what the show purports to be about.

I am interested in cars but I don’t watch Top Gear for the same reason I don’t watch Strictly Come Dancing. They are both phoney.

However, I sympathise with commercial TV because it has to dumb down in some areas to subsidise its quality programmes. The BBC has no such excuse but the public should take some of the blame.

The viewers who are whinging about the licence fee are the very same people who complain about the populist rubbish the Beeb thinks it needs to put out to justify it.

Conspiracy nonsense

From: Hugh Rogers, Ashby, Scunthorpe.

WHO is GP Taylor? We are told that he used to be a policeman and a vicar, but this hardly qualifies him as a political commentator and it shows in his latest anti-American diatribe (The Yorkshire Post, March 4).

His conspiracy theory about American and Britain “gleefully starting war after war” and promoting Middle East instability would be laughable if it were not for the real-life tragedies happening in that part of the world on a daily basis.

May I suggest that in future Mr Taylor stops regarding James Bond novels as political briefing material and concentrates upon simpler topics, such as the price of rhubarb in Wakefield.

Aberrant apostrophes

From: Dick Appleyard, Saxilby, Near Lincoln.

RE the letter by Canon Michael Storey (The Yorkshire Post, March 14). It seems to me that Mother’s Day logically refers to your mother’s (special) day and Mothers’ Day logically refers to all mothers’ (special) day for the logical reason of where the apostrophe is.

But I believe that the rules of our English language say that Mother’s Day and Mothers’ Day is the same thing.

This year, Mothers’ Day fell on the Ides of March (March 15) when Julius Caesar was assassinated in the year 44BC.