SIR - We are told by politicians and pundits alike that it is the parents’ and not the government’s responsibility to properly feed their children. Alan Bates (T&A, October 31) would have us believe that feeding hungry children is a ‘left wing’ issue.

We had loving and caring parents but their income was so meagre that we had to exist in an unheated cottage with no electricity. There was a single cold tap over an unglazed sink and an outside toilet. We ate rancid butter, drank watered milk and scraped the mould off our cheese, were regularly infested with fleas and head lice and went to bed by candlelight.

Rescue came in 1945 when family allowance was introduced by the post-war caretaker Conservative - yes, Conservative - government. It was given to all mothers and not quibbled over by mean minded critics like Philip Davies MP or Alan Bates. The whole controversy shows once again that without experience, it is not possible to understand the true consequences of deprivation then or now.

Brian Holmans, Langley Road, Bingley