IN The Northern Echo’s edition of January 31 it was reported there is a gambling addiction problem in England, possibly also, I would suggest, in the remainder of the UK, “Record number of people gambling” was the headline.

Apparently 52,370 people in 2023 called the National Gambling Helpline.

These are the people who contacted them.

How many haven’t?

In the February 10 edition of the paper it was reported there are “Concerns over alcohol drinking” in the city of Sunderland, mainly to do with more drinking at home.

I’m sure the area is not alone.

Could the above be why there are so many foodbanks and being so heavily used?

On the same day “Dental crisis still decaying” was the front page headline.

The article inside stated more dentists are going private.

Could this be because of NHS patients not attending their appointments and therefore a loss of income to the dentist?

Private patients pay so will attend.

Then we have Joy Allen, Labour Police and Crime Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, advising a 377 per cent rise in absences of school children in the County Durham area and 95 per cent in Darlington.

But in her long and informative article it does not mention once the responsibilities of their parent(s) or guardians ensuring that children attend school.

Perhaps the above issues suggest that it is not entirely the fault of the government but is a problem because of the behaviour of society.

Perhaps there should be a public inquiry into the above issues as we seem to have so many investigations these days.

I can say these things as I am not out to win a popularity contest, unlike the media and politicians!

Mike Taylor, Darlington.