Living independently | Deficit to match tax gap | Holding hands in Catalonia | Pumpkin curry | Mrs May at church

This is the first time I heard the expression “relationship virgin” (Family, 28 October) and can say “ditto” to everything she wrote in the article. When the penny finally dropped that I was to remain independent, I made the most of it: I lived and worked abroad, travelled and got on with life. I am now 76, still independent and content. My friends say that some bloke has had a lucky escape. I think I agree with them.
Liz Rawcliffe
Preston, Lancashire

• You report (30 October) that the government deficit is forecast to reach £36bn. Coincidentally, the tax gap for 2016 – ie the difference between taxes due and taxes actually collected – was also £36bn. Yet the government is pressing on with its policy of closing local HMRC offices and reducing staff numbers, which seems to indicate a lack of joined-up thinking about how to deal with the deficit.
Ian Arnott (ex-HMRC)
Werrington, Peterborough

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