Letters: The Tories can’t afford to delay their migration reforms until the spring

James Cleverly, British Home Secretary, and Vincent Biruta, Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed a new treaty in Kigali
James Cleverly, British Home Secretary, and Vincent Biruta, Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed a new treaty in Kigali - Reuters

SIR – The new five-point plan to control immigration (“Migrant curbs to cut arrivals by quarter”, report, December 5) is all very well, but why wait until the spring to implement it?

The Government does not seem to understand how urgent this issue is for the public. I suspect we will see a surge in numbers over the next three or four months.

Rishi Sunak needs to act now. This is the last chance the Conservatives have to lessen the degree of defeat they will surely suffer at the next election.

Mick Ferrie
Mawnan Smith, Cornwall

SIR – “Enough is enough – it’s time to get control of immigration once and for all.” Quite right, Mr Sunak. We’re sick of unfulfilled promises, and that is why you are 20 points behind Labour in the opinion polls.

George Kelly

SIR – Slashing migration by 300,000 is a step in the right direction but does not go far enough. The country simply cannot cope with the huge numbers settling here.

Quite apart from the pressure on resources, it’s beginning to affect social cohesion. We must train more of our own to do essential jobs, and we should start by getting those on out-of-work benefits back into employment.

R G Drax MP (Con)
London SW1

SIR – As a former immigration officer, I must ask: how has it taken so long for the Government to admit that dependants of care workers are often net users of – rather than net contributors to – the economy, thus negating the cost benefit of the main applicant? The same was true of EU dependants: the young and the old were economically inactive, adding to the pressure on services provided by the hard-pressed taxpayer.

Elizabeth Edmunds
Hassocks, West Sussex

SIR – I welcome the attempts by the Government to prevent illegal immigration and control the numbers of legal migrants for the sake of those who already live here. It is also understandable that migrants wishing to work here and bring family should be expected to be able to support them without public funds.

The requirement, however, under the new rules for family visas, for British citizens to earn nearly £39,000 before they can bring their foreign spouses to live with them here, is well beyond what can be morally acceptable. It must also contravene both international and domestic law on the right to family life.

It may be that this is an unintended consequence of what James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, has set out. If so, it should speedily be altered, as it will cause unnecessary anxiety and distress among law-abiding people.

Msgr Dr Michael Nazir-Ali
Oxtrad: Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue
London SW1

Excessive BBC salaries

SIR – My wife and I are 78 and 79 years old. We still pay our licence fee, but we rarely watch any BBC programmes – and never BBC News.

Instead of increasing the licence fee (Letters, December 5), the BBC should look at how much money is paid to employees, especially Gary Lineker, who apparently earns £1.3 million. Paul Coyte of GB News would be more than capable of replacing Mr Lineker – probably for a more realistic salary.

I suspect newsreaders are also paid astronomical amounts. The BBC seems to forget that it is misusing viewers’ money. It is well past time for change.

Brian Roebuck
Alveston, Gloucestershire

SIR – We are constantly being given the impression that if we don’t fund the BBC adequately it will cease to exist.

It is clearly indefensible to force viewers to subscribe via the licence fee to a programme provider that is not to their liking. The alternatives available to an independently funded BBC include subscription, advertising or a combination of the two. Product placement and sponsorship are further funding options that should be considered.

There could be government-imposed safeguards to ensure political neutrality. These would probably make the BBC appear less politically biased than the public perceives it to be at the moment.

Nicholas Young
London W13

Upgrading the NHS

SIR – With NHS waiting lists at a record high, it is right to explore a range of options, including new technology and AI, to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of killer diseases (“AI will analyse every hospital scan under Labour”, report, December 3).

To do that, the NHS needs diagnostic equipment that is fit for purpose, and that costs money. Years of under-investment have left too many NHS trusts with failing equipment, such as old CT and MRI, scanners and unreliable mobile X-ray machines. The situation in community and mental health services is equally precarious.

If we are truly going to transform the delivery of health care, the NHS capital budget needs to be substantially increased so that we can invest in core digital and IT infrastructure across the NHS, and modernise the ageing estate.

Saffron Cordery
Deputy chief executive, NHS Providers
London SW1

Who gets called ‘fat’

SIR – In a lifelong struggle with my weight, I have been on a multitude of diets that have not worked for me (“Obesity to leave UK ‘sick and impoverished’”, report, December 4).

Body mass index (BMI) is the phrase of the day, but has a major flaw that health professionals fail to grasp: one’s density does not feature as part of the measure. Until we can present a truly comprehensive picture, we are not doing justice to those who are labelled “fat”.

Peter Ferguson Western
Poole, Dorset

Rizz kids

SIR – I had never heard of Oxford University Press’s word of the year, rizz - meaning charismatic - (report, December 5), so I asked my 15-year-old grandson about it. “Oh yes, we all use it in my class,” he said.

Not surprising, perhaps, except I live in Toledo, Spain, and my grandson – and all his classmates – are Spanish.

Neil James
Bargas, Toledo, Spain

The right to die

SIR – Keith Herdman, aged 101 (“A dignified death”, Letters, December 4), expresses what so many people have said to me during my working life as a GP.

In Britain today, we allow individuals complete autonomy over all other moral decisions in their lives – whether to marry, to have an abortion or to refuse medical treatment, for example. But when it comes to the fundamental question of how to die, a group of unrelated people, for moral, professional or religious reasons, continue to dictate how we should meet our ends.

This is old-fashioned paternalism of the worst kind – the claim that the doctor, the priest or the politician knows best. It is clear that they do not, and have no right to impose their morality on others. The sooner we follow the many other civilised countries that have legalised patient choice through assisted dying, the better.

Dr Tim Howard
Former chair, General Medical Council disciplinary tribunals
Wimborne, Dorset

SIR – I fully support Keith Herdman’s sentiments. Surely we should be allowed to choose how to die, as we choose how to live.

My father, who was experiencing extreme pain from cancer, which had spread to his spine, took his own life rather than suffer the indignity of paralysis and incontinence. I have had a diagnosis of bone-marrow cancer and could be looking ahead to the agony of fractures, pain and loss of control. How I would welcome a change in the law that would allow me to have a peaceful and dignified end, surrounded by my loved ones.

About 250 million people in the Western world now have access to assisted dying. A change in the law is long overdue in this country.

Suzanne Jee
Sevenoaks Weald, Kent

Wedding salute

SIR – Some years ago, my grandson was married in Lincolnshire and the reception was held in a marquee on a village cricket field.

The guests were puzzled when no one was allowed into the marquee until a signal had been given. This came after a Spitfire, returning from Trooping the Colour, dipped its wings in salute to the newly married couple as it flew over the field (Letters, December 5). The bride’s father, who was a friend of the pilot, had arranged this magical surprise.

Dr Daphne Pearson
Redbrook, Gloucestershire

The cultural evolution of a truly global city

Dutch detailing: the architecture in Cape Town reflects its various European influences
Dutch detailing: the architecture in Cape Town reflects its various European influences - Hoberman Collection/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

SIR – As a resident of Constantia in Cape Town, South Africa, I was immensely pleased to learn belatedly that Telegraph readers had chosen our city as their favourite holiday destination (telegraph.co.uk, July 11).

Bordered on two sides by the ocean, settled centuries ago by the Portuguese, Dutch, English and French, Cape Town is truly a global city. It has God-given natural beauty, a Mediterranean climate, and is far enough south to escape the summer African heat. The Cape Doctor blows the vineyards cool, resulting in grapes that are squeezed into fine wines to challenge the world’s best.

However, the fine restaurants, the comfortable hotels and guesthouses, and the immense variety of things to do and see are in part a result of visitors ensuring that our bar stays high; cableways that are safe, roads without potholes, water that is of the finest quality, clean neighbourhoods and a potpourri of cultures make for a memorable holiday. Constantly evolving fashions and food styles are the drivers of our great city.

We welcome readers with open arms and doff our hats to those who came and went home joyous.

Andrew Pollock
Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa

How to ensure a succulent Christmas turkey

SIR – Contrary to Michael Deacon’s condemnation of turkey as drab and dry Christmas fare (Way of the World, December 2), I would argue that the secret to serving a succulent turkey is in the preparation.

In December 2002, the Telegraph Magazine published a Nigella Lawson recipe that my family have used every year since.

It involves steeping the bird in a spiced and honey-infused brine solution for a couple of days before cooking – and then not overcooking. The result is delicious.

Philip Hunwick
Longframlington, Northumberland

SIR – In our house it is a tradition to serve a Christmas curry. This usually consists of tandoori turkey, goose biryani, sprout bhajis, Bombay roast potatoes and chilli-ginger carrots.

Admittedly we do have a traditional Christmas pudding, but it is served with kulfi. I am proud to say this meal is always thoroughly enjoyed.

John Franklin
London N1

SIR – The most unwanted but useful present (Letters, December 5) given to me by my husband was a tow rope. It meant that I was able to rescue our youngest son twice when his old banger broke down.

Thesca Pointon-Taylor
Penn, Buckinghamshire

SIR – A few years ago my husband gave me a chainsaw for Christmas. It was the best present ever and I can sometimes get completely carried away with it. Every country girl needs her chainsaw.

Rowena Archer
Hanwell, Oxfordshire

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