SIR - Re Paul Dunn’s letter: He confuses the need for our farmers to be paid a fair price for their produce with the need to address child poverty. He says: “Poverty to me is when people haven’t enough to eat or are denied basic essentials” and that’s the point!

Here in North Yorkshire, it is too easy for people to only see the ‘wealth’ of the county; rolling landscapes, grand houses, grouse moors and pheasant shoots, relatively low levels of unemployment and low population density. These things mask the hardships that many people face. 

The fact is that in 2021/22, in Kevin Hollinrake’s Thirsk and Malton constituency, 21per cent of children aged 0 to 15 were living in poverty, according to the government’s own published statistics.

In March, Professor Shucksmith at Newcastle University, said “Nobody should be disadvantaged because of where they live...But poor and vulnerable people in rural areas very much are. Life is tough for anyone living in poverty but those who live in the countryside face a very specific set of additional challenges.”

These include: low pay, insecure employment, less affordable housing, a poor public transport infrastructure, unreliable mobile phone coverage and slow internet access - all factors that drive rural poverty and ultimately child poverty.  

The government seems unable to recognise any of these issues, let alone address them, but is content to remove the safety net provided by public services. Without government intervention rural communities will be forced to rely on the voluntary sector/ charities to support the most vulnerable.

B A Southwell