The aim of new council housing should be quality, not just quantity

The Parker Morris standard was abolished by Thatcher's government leading to lower standards of social housing: Getty

Now that the Government appears to be paying more attention to the need for more council housing, may I plead with it to require that all be built to at least the Parker Morris standard, a requirement abolished by Margaret Thatcher’s government?

As an architect involved in the design of such housing, I know how challenging it was to design houses with the orientation to get the most sunlight into them, and before approval was given one had to demonstrate that they would be able to accommodate furniture satisfactorily, and, if I recall correctly, a pram!

Even then, the standard was higher than that provided in private homes, where third bedrooms where often referred to as boxrooms. The best orientation did reduce heating costs to some degree. Please, Government, dig it out, update it where necessary, and implement it. It would not take long, as all the information is still accessible.

Ian Turnbull

Festive fan

We loved the article by Rachel Hosie on Christmas pizzas, although maybe not for the purist. For myself and family, I have annotated my diary and we are to attend the named supermarket on opening day to sample this new Yuletide indulgence!

Also, I look forward to an update please on the “Festive bites, worst to best” by Rachel.

Another splendid read at this time of year!

Robert Boston

Period poverty

Thank you for your article “Banishing ‘period poverty’ among young women should be a Budget priority”. We should commend organisations like Plan UK for its extensive work to bring awareness to this issue. They even have invented an emoji to try and bring more openness on the issue of periods and the impact it has on girls’ lives.

However, there is one glaring gap I fail to understand. Why are these products subject to VAT (reduced rate 5 per cent)? My understanding of VAT was that it is a tax on luxury or goods not essential for living. Sanitary goods are not a luxury.

Laura Dawson

A passing comment

I’ve just read the letter by your correspondent John Sinclair, headed “Millennials will be the most prosperous generation soon enough”. What struck me most about his letter was not the content, which seemed to be pretty much stating the obvious; but about his choice of the word “pass” as a euphemism for “die”.

Can any of your readers enlighten me about the etymology of this usage? I’m familiar with “pass away”; “pass” by itself seems to have more of a connotation of transition into an afterlife and I was surprised to see it used like this in an otherwise secular context.

Perhaps your excellent John Rentoul could assist?

Kathryn Robertson

The last laugh

I can’t understand why passengers want to board planes first as reported on in your article “Paid the lowest fare you’ll be last to board, Simon Calder”. Unfortunately I don’t have experience of first or business class travel but I do have experience of priority boarding on a budget airline. This meant spending longer in the queue to board and longer sitting in the cramped seat on board while waiting to go.

Surely first class passengers sit comfortably in the airline lounge with a G&T while the riff raff scramble aboard and then they stroll on just before departure.

Alan Pack