I read David Walker’s letter in criticising the Honours system with interest when in frustration he complains that a very worthy individual he nominated for an award was ignored.

I also agree with him that people who have been financially well rewarded for the job they do should be excluded and disregarded.

There is one salient and unacceptable point Mr Walker fails to mention and impacts on his argument. Out of 4,000 public nominations 1,495 honours were granted but we are left wondering how many arrived there on merit.

A handful of recipients may have paid to achieve an award. An ‘Awards Intelligence’ company exists which helps 200 to apply annually at a rate of £40,000. All candidates must tick a box on the application form that asks whether they have taken advantage of a ‘fixer’.

A recent Freedom of Information request to the Cabinet revealed that there is no record kept of the many candidates who did indicate that a professional company had been utilised.

I am astounded at this revelation and must question why ask for information and then fail to keep a record of it.

It is patently obvious that a creditable applicant who cannot pay for help is pushed to the back of the queue and no one would have any idea.

Rich people are receiving an unfair advantage and there is clearly a lack of transparency making the entire system utterly pointless. The bottom line is that honours should be earned on achievement.

I totally agree with Chris Bryant, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Standards, who insists there needs to be an urgent top to bottom review of the entire system. I am afraid Mr Walker it would appear sadly your pockets were not deep enough!

Jim Oldcorn