Letters, Friday, August 16, 2013

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Get city sorted – stop wasting cash

I TOTALLY agree with Dr T (July 26) with regard to the St Mary’s Way alignment.

 Look at the chaos it is causing at peak periods, and I dread what it will be like on match days when the men start putting the cones out, reducing the bridge from three to one lane, starting at 3pm. It only takes 15 minutes, so why not wait until the match finishes?

 You just have to look at the mistakes this council has made such as the Seaburn fountain, The Gambit, the Vaux site, the new bridge and the toll bar junction, which in the end cost twice as much to complete due to bad design. The lay-out had to be altered not once but twice, but what was wrong with the roundabout? It worked with no hold-ups, not like at present with the lights.

 They say St Mary’s will take about 18 months to complete – we hope. Along the same lines, the three-lane dual carriageway from Wetherby to Dishforth, 14 miles in total, took 18 months from start to finish. How long is St Mary’s – 250 yards? The mind boggles.

 I think it’s time Coun Paul Watson and his pals got their act together as it has wasted millions of pounds, which could have been put to better use, maybe tidying up Holmeside, which is a shambles, as is Fawcett Street.

 So come on and get this city sorted and stop wasting the public’s hard earned money. If not, stand down and let someone else try to do it.

S Hutchinson

Welfare for needy

THE saga of Keith McDonald, ‘feckless father’ of 11 children by 10 mothers, illustrates how far the benefits system has moved from its original intention.

 Mr McDonald is too ill to work but well enough to spawn nearly a dozen babies, with the bill for them being sent to the taxpayer.

 In some countries he would be in jail for non-payment of child maintenance but here the state takes responsibility every time.

 Although an extreme case, this does show how such an alternative lifestyle of worklessness and claims is possible on benefits.

 It is a far cry from the original intention of the welfare state, which was to provide temporary assistance for the neediest when not in work.

 Unfortunately, and at a cost of £348billion a year, this has expanded to benefits for people who don’t need them leaving less for those who do.

 A return to the idea that welfare exists for the poorest to help them into work is welcome and comes with employment increasing across Wearside.

Councillor Robert Oliver

Leader Conservative

Council Group

What spoilsports

IT appears one or two readers must have got out of the wrong side of the bed (Echo, August 8).

 Talk about grumpy.

 The first letter, Ground the Airshow, dear me, Elizabeth, it was a great two days when tens of thousands of people chilled out in the sun and had a great time, finishing off at the Roker Hotel, live outdoor music, roast hog and a few drinks.

 Maybe, Mrs Grumpy and her friends should hire a minibus and go in the other direction next year if she’s fed up with it.

 Second letter, Chilly reception, the guy who hates ice-cream vans and he’s going to ring his MP about them, because there’s only so much monkey’s blood he can handle.

 Goodness gracious me, talk about world problems. Maybe you should go out for a drink with Victor Meldrew, because quite frankly: “I just don’t believe it.”

Ian Wright,

Houghton

Costly mistake

MR W Quinn deliberately misinterprets my letter (August 8).

 I was merely pointing out that the costly bridge fiasco was caused not by a simple U-turn over its design, but by the council underestimating the build cost.

 A U-turn to save money would have been one thing, but to scrap the scheme because of bungling is by far another. Any attempt to cover this bungling is disingenuous.

Alan Wright

Maternity all wrong

AT the age of 16, I got a job in the Civil Service and enjoyed it.

 After four years, I got married, stayed on, was due for promotion and then became pregnant.

 I stayed on for a while then handed in my notice. I got a government maternity grant and after our child was born, I got family allowance. That was correct, I was no longer available for work.

 Now it seems that a job has to be kept open for a long time, the business has to find a temporary replacement, then remove that person.

 This is all wrong. I have said, as an employer I would give very few jobs to women of child-bearing age.

 I also disagree with paternity leave.

 How did we all survive years ago?

 With very few problems, I can tell you.

 Now some businesses are closing down because of unsustainable expenses, tax and red tape.

Marjorie Matthews

Olympic support

I WOULD like to express my thanks to all the kind people who donated to my granddaughter Chloe’s Deaf Olympics held in Sofia, Bulgaria.

 Great Britain Ladies’ Football Team won the bronze. Well done, we are all very proud of the team.

Vera Robson and family,

Elstob Farm

Great generosity

MEMBERS of the Sunderland and South Shields branch of Guide Dogs for the Blind Association would like to thank the people of Sunderland for their wonderful generosity during the collection day on August 3.

 A total of £681.94 was raised.

 We are very grateful to everyone concerned.

Pat Orrell,

Secretary,

Sunderland and South Shields GDBA

Chocolate bar missed

BEING a bit of a chocolate addict, I felt a sudden urge to purchase a bar of Fry’s chocolate Five Boys.

 I hadn’t tasted one for a long while and I do enjoy a nibble when I am studying how the Dow Jones Index is performing. I popped down to my local newsagent, who informed me that I must have been trapped in a time warp for many years as this particular chocolate bar had not been around since the early 1970s.

 I went away with a flea in my ear and wondered why confectionary manufacturers are always dropping popular products.

Mick ‘The Pen’ Brown

A cautionary tale

I WRITE to warn people to take care with their mobile phones.

 Recently, my granddaughter called me (her mother was on night duty) at 2am as she found herself out of town without any money.

 At my request, she got herself a taxi for me to pay when she arrived home.

 However, on arrival she found she no longer had her mobile phone. After a brief search of the taxi, we presumed she must have lost it prior to the journey.

 Before I handed over the £30 fare, I called her number and, to our astonishment, her phone was in the driver’s possession. I hasten to add it was not a Sunderland taxi, but one has to wonder how often this happens when a person inadvertently misplaces their phone after a night out?

 This is my granddaughter’s third phone. We feel bound to replace them for her own safety and our peace of mind.

M Bennett