Conservatives self-inflict defeat if energy crisis worsens

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SIR – We are currently paying £ 137 per month for our gas and electricity on a fixed term contract. This ends on October 10, when our new two-year contract will be £ 203 per month.

We agreed to this on September 8th. If we had waited until today to set our monthly rate we would have paid £ 243. Our bill would have increased by over £ 100 per month. Who will settle this madness?

Diana walsh
Totnes, Devon

SIR – It is a sad reality that this country, which launched the industrial revolution, has become a nation of objectors.

We need coal, and a new coal mine, like the one proposed in Cumbria, would not only alleviate the need to import it, but also allow us to profit by selling the surplus.

Shale oil and gas, which has been a huge success for America, remains underground here, while we import gas and electricity from unreliable European countries.

When are we going to face the facts, use common sense, and make the right decisions?

Colin bower
Nottingham

MONSIEUR – In the past, Labor ruined the country and the Conservatives would have to be elected to fix things.

What shall we do now?

Nigel coleman
Grimston, Norfolk

Serve at home

SIR – I am amazed that Sarah Healey (report, September 24), the permanent secretary of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, can brag about the benefits of working from home – including more time to do his exercise Peloton bike – when my experience in the public service has been one of inefficiency and incompetence.

Since my father passed away in December 2020, I have been trying to get my mother re-evaluated for her contributions to her care. The lady handling the case admitted that she worked from home and could not access the documents as they were in the office, even though I had initially sent everything digitally.

In the meantime, I am also awaiting approval. Documents submitted in January have yet to be processed, despite the promise that probate will only take eight weeks. It’s a similar story with HM Revenue and Customs and their slow handling of my parents’ tax cases.

It appears that the government has no intention of requiring public servants to work efficiently or in the office. What will happen when they find out that this project is not working?

Alison thomas
Leatherhead, Surrey

SIR – Sarah Healey should get off her stationary bike, get on a real bike and go back to the office.

Maintenance staff, postal staff and many others have long returned to full time but are now being laid off as buildings are sold for lack of use.

Cheryl pope
Felsted, Essex

SIR – In the 1960s, most of us left school and went straight to work. Only the smartest went to college. In my case, I left high school with a handful of O levels and went straight to the Ministry of Defense in Bath. I was a civil servant in old Admiralty barracks left over from World War II. What happy days they were, working with men and women considerably older than me. I learned all the basics of the office routine, which was very useful to me in various positions until I retired at 65.

I will always remember the humor and the camaraderie, dispelling any shyness I felt and teaching myself to work with different age groups. Daily routine is often missed after retirement.

Andrea West
Wedmore, Somerset

Accidental Thriller

SIR – The Misguidance in the Bookstores by Robert Byron The train station alongside volumes for Railroad Enthusiasts (Featured Article, September 21) reminded me of my days working in the Bahamas in the late 1960s.

Our local supermarket always had a variety of paperbacks (romances, thrillers) for sale by the checkouts. Imagine my surprise when I spotted five copies of Red for danger by the late LTC Rolt, a forensic examination of the causes of British rail accidents, from September 1830 – when the hapless MP William Huskisson was shot and fatally injured by the Rocket – until the Lewisham disaster in December 1957.

One can only imagine that the purchasing agent had looked at a list of books and thought it sounded like another thriller.

Alan peachey
Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire

Impact of inflation

SIR – Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, underestimated the impact of inflation (report, September 24). Many of us haven’t. We remember living through the boom years of the 1970s. The decade began with 6.1 percent inflation, which then climbed to over 25 percent.

If our policymakers had lived through this decade as workers, perhaps they would have understood a little better the terrible impact of inflation. To be surprised by developments, after a pandemic that has caused massive disruption in business and in the very fabric of our lives, seems short-sighted.

Cameron Morice
Reading, Berkshire


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