I recently had a visit, from an Australian relative, who lives in Sydney, who has not visited Sunderland for more than 20 years.
He said: “He could not help but comment on the state of the town, as it was to him then and the city as it is now”.
Dirty streets, uncut grass verges and public areas, the poor state of public buildings and facilities, and the total decline of the town centre.
I said, in defence, that unfortunately, since the financial crisis of 2008, the city and the country have been in a state of “austerity”, and that due to this, standards have, unfortunately, declined due to the council having to cut back on the services provided.
He said that in Sydney, since the 2008 crisis, the city did not go into austerity, but released nearly all its cash reserves (millions of dollars) so that schools, public buildings, council housing, public parks, public transport etc. were maintained to the highest standards, giving massive amounts of work to the local building sector and associated industries. Also providing, much-needed apprenticeships for school leavers, and because of this the city prospers, looks fantastic for all the tourists that visit the city and is a great place to live and bring up a family.
Is there a message there somewhere?
Come on, Sunderland Council, take the initiative and release some of the millions of reserves we’ve got tucked away and let’s get the city back to where it should be. After all what are ”reserves” for?