This is what you have been writing to us about this week.

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Please note, any paper letters sent to the Bucks Free Press office are only being picked up periodically during lockdown.

Shame if we can no longer enjoy The Chilterns because of Red Kites

I read with interest your article in the May 15 edition about Red Kites and their potential danger.

My son and daughter decided to go for a walk on Saturday in the scenic area between Great Kimble and Ellesborough.

It was a nice day so they took a picnic, this being allowed under the new lockdown rules. They had just started to eat when a Red Kite swooped down between them, upset a bowl of mini sausages and made off with some of the food. Luckily my son and daughter were not hurt but it was a frightening experience.

These birds will become more ‘tame’ if people continue to feed them. It would be a great shame if we can no longer picnic in our beautiful Chilterns without fear of a possible Red Kite attack.

Name and address withheld

Did lockdown help spread the virus?

Controversial view? Did lockdown, forcing people to stay at home or indoors help spread the virus? From the very beginning we should have encouraged fresh air, walking in green spaces and swimming in the sea and sunbathing on UK beaches would have been far healthier (whilst maintaining social distancing of course). Florence Nightingale knew this.

Simon Icke, Aston Clinton

Paying for what we value

Friday 29th May is the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Equal Pay Act. The world has changed a lot in the ensuing 50 years, and although there is much more to achieve, the gender pay gap has narrowed considerably over that period. But the world has changed in a quite different way in the last 50 days, and it is increasingly evident that it will never be the same again.

The impact on the economy will be huge and it is already being recognised that women will be disproportionately adversely affected in the job market, as many people lose their jobs and will need to seek fresh employment in a highly competitive job market.

There is a serious risk that women’s pay will be driven down and the gender pay gap will grow again. The old adage “beggars can’t be choosers” sadly comes to mind. We must surely guard against such an outcome.

Women, in those sectors where the proportion of women workers far outstrips men, such as the care sector, are already forced to accept poor pay, in the absence of a viable alternative. Eight out of ten care workers are women, many of whom are paid at just minimum wage levels. Work done by women is still consistently undervalued.

New survey data published this week by The Fawcett Society, the gender equality campaigning charity, shows that the public overwhelmingly want carers to be better paid and better valued. There should be all party support for appropriate legislation in this regard.

A significant 72 per cent of those polled agreed that care workers are underpaid for the work they do. Many low-paid care workers are no doubt among the 1.2 million women who are not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay due to their level of earnings. When care workers are often putting their own health (and sometimes their lives) at risk, this is surely wrong. The public certainly think so. Seventy-seven per cent of those polled thought that every worker should be able to access sick pay during the pandemic.

Crucially, 65 per cent supported an increase in income tax to fund giving care workers a pay rise. Only 11% disagreed. An even greater proportion of the public, 74 per cent, want to see care for the elderly and disabled protected from any funding cuts.

The work of women in all sectors is of equal value to that of their male counterparts. In re-evaluating what matters in our society, we must never forget this. If the “new normal” genuinely includes equal pay for equal work, and decent working conditions for all, we will have made a significant change for the better.

Rachel Dineley, Diversity Officer, Chiltern Liberal Democrats

Pat on the back for Steve Baker for breaking ranks

I have never been a supporter of Wycombe's MP Steve Baker but must give him a pat on the back for breaking his party's ranks and saying at the weekend that Dominic Cummings should resign or be sacked.

All the arguments have been aired over what Mr Cummings did but, if you take an honest approach and remember all the millions of anxious Brits who have kept to the lifesaving stay at home order the government made to reduce the virus's spread, then he was plainly taking liberties and putting lives at risk.

A lingering thought is also the double standards and tactics some politicians take to defend their party's chums.

A simple example is that if a leading Labour or Lib Dem politician had driven 260 miles (maybe at least twice) on a "mercy mission" in the middle of this virus scare lockdown then we would have heard a loud chorus of demands from leading Conservative politicians for that errant Labour bod to resign.

Johnson, Gove, Shapps and co have defended Cummings for his journeying but would they also defend Starmer, Corbyn, Harman or Blair if they had done the same? I don't think so.

Name and address withheld

Hopefully the blue passport is worth it

Leo Duggan, an enthusiastic voice for Britain’s departure from the EU, wrote last week that “In the EU, we have people who are not elected or accountable, making rules and regulations for the British public” (BFP letters page, May 22).

In fact, democracy and accountability are built into every institution of the EU. As for being “unelected”, you might remember that last June we had elections for the European Parliament, as we had done every five years since 1979.

If Leo Duggan is looking for a country with a huge democratic flaw, he doesn’t have to look far. If anybody knows Mr Duggan personally perhaps they could explain to him how the House of Lords works. Probably best break it to him gently!

Mr Duggan says of the EU “Like all puppet states it will eventually implode”. There’s no obvious sign of that happening. In fact support across Europe for the EU and its institutions has increased significantly in the last few years, as our neighbours and trading partners have looked on bemused as the UK has made an almighty pig’s ear out of the departure process.

Nobody is in any hurry to follow our example! If there is a ‘puppet state’ in danger of imploding, then again Mr Duggan doesn’t need to look far to find it.

Faced with the imminent prospect of customs controls between Great Britain and Northern Ireland (necessary for the UK to leave the EU without breaking our international treaty obligations under the Good Friday Agreement that ended years of civil war in Ulster) economic and social forces will inevitably push the two parts of Ireland towards merger; whilst Scotland (which voted overwhelmingly against Brexit, as did Northern Ireland), finding itself dragged out of the EU against its clear wishes, seems certain to end the Act of Union within the next 10-15 years.

It’s not the EU that is likely to implode, Mr Duggan, it’s the UK. I hope you think the blue passport is worth it.

Neil Timberlake, West Wycombe

‘EU assertions should be dismissed’

I write in response to the letter from Mr Leo Duggan (BFP letters page, May 22).

He calls the European Union a "cartel" and a "puppet state". It cannot be both at the same time.

More fundamentally, he claims that "we have people who are unelected and unaccountable making rules for the British public".

In doing so, he demonstrates his ignorance of the Ordinary Legislative Procedure set out in Article 294 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

For the avoidance of doubt, EU law is not made by unelected and unaccountable people, it is made jointly by members of the elected governments of the member states (The Council of the European Union) and the directly elected representatives of the people of them e member states (the European Parliament).

During the UK's membership of the EU, those bodies included members of the British government of the day and the elected representatives of the British people.

Finally, Mr Duggan wrote that "the UK made a respectful departure from the European Union". His letter demonstrates the opposite of respect.

Mr Duggan's assertions may be dismissed accordingly.

Tom Murphy, Nuneaton, Warwickshire

‘The EU are anti-UK in trade talks’

Boris and Steve are not absorbing and communicating effectively, I hope Frost can do better.

The EU are anti-UK in trade talks, fact - wake up now!

Roger Dixon, High Wycombe