Letters, Friday, March 23rd, 2012

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Scrap plans over public sector pay

WE are writing this open letter in opposition to the Government’s proposals to introduce regional pay.

We refute the Government’s central argument that public sector pay is crowding out private sector jobs in the North East. The economic facts speak for themselves: the North East is the region with the lowest wages and the highest unemployment, with nine unemployed people chasing every vacancy. It is the lack of demand in the economy, not the wages of nurses and teachers, which is causing the problem.

The Government’s proposals will lead to different wage rates between regions and possibly within the region. The North-South divide will grow and the least prosperous areas of the country will be the hardest hit, demand will be sucked out of the local economy as the money will not be there to spend, impacting on jobs in the private sector.

We are committed to a strong and thriving private sector in the North East. The way to help private sector pay is to see investment in high-value jobs such as those at Nissan in Sunderland, Hitachi’s soon-to-be-built train-building factory in County Durham, the renewables industry and the relighting of the TCP blast furnace in Redcar.

We can also protect pay in the public and private sectors with the minimum wage, something introduced by a Labour Government and opposed tooth and nail by the Conservative Party.

We see the Government’s proposals as shortsighted, devisive and without economic credibility. We call on the Government to withdraw their plans and concentrate on a plan for jobs and growth.

Phil Wilson MP (Secretary, Northern Group of Labour MPs), Kevan Jones MP (Chairman), Dave Anderson MP, Stuart Bell MP

Council let-down

THE degradation of the seafront carries on unabated.

Youths, after holding drinking sessions near the site of the former Worm Park, celebrate by breaking bottles, creating large areas of broken glass, a dangerous hazard to children, animals and the elderly who use the pathways to gain access to services such as the supermarket.

These are not isolated incidents. They have been reported time and time again to the police and the civic authorities. Enforcement patrols do their best but the situation needs a more rebust approach if these antisocial practices are to be stopped.

Sunderland City Council have long ignored the need to invest in the jewel in the crown. No wonder many people drive through Seaburn on their way to South Shields. We are brainwashed by this Labour council who boast the Sunderland Way of Working is the Right Way.

I among others am not deceived by this pathetic claim. Evidence of this is the disgrace of the barren Vaux site, the deplorable fiascos of Holmeside, the waste of the Farringdon Road plan, the pathetic Arc.

I could go on reminding the people of this city about the last 40 years of neglect that the Labour council has subjected upon this city.

But maybe, just maybe, people may now be thinking outside the box and realise that Labour control of their destiny has been a disaster.

Coun George Howe, Fulwell Ward

Open invitation

I WOULD just like to extend my thanks to Coun Tony Morrissey of Barnes ward for his letter in the Echo, highlighting some of the work I have been doing recently.

If Coun Morrissey or any of his colleagues would like to help me further with my upcoming campaign in St Michael’s ward, he could contact me through the website www.chrisjohnsonsunderland.com.

Chris Johnson, St Michael’s Ward

Verdict on council

WHO works for who in the city council, asked Mr Metcalfe from East Herrington. He seemed to see a total failure in services, and, in particular, the financial management of the council being ruled by dinosaur unions.

If Mr Metcalfe sat with other members of the public on January 25, he could have got a copy of the council agenda (138 pages) and item one on the cabinet papers was the external Audit Commission letter for 2010/11.

The 320 pages state the council has a history of good financial management, robust systems of corporate government and internal control and a strong delivery of budgets. It included the innovative Switch Programme and 14 pages of all councillors’ allowances etc in great detail, again by a well-respected independent panel.

If Mr Metcalfe has complaints, he can do two things: first contact the Audit Commission and, second, in May’s local election stand to be a candidate of a political party – or no party – and, if elected, help to put right his concerns.

Democracy in action.

Bill Craddock, Donvale Road, Washington

Search Party

I AM hoping that Echo readers may be able to help me in family research. I have an 80+ relative who would like to know more of her background.

The families concerned are Stubbs, Coxan, Dunville/Dumville and Baxter. The majority were mariners and painters from the Sunderland area.

The lady I am in contact with lost her father, Thomas S. Baxter, in 1939. He was 30 when he died, leaving a wife and four children, so she knows very little of his family.

I have been able to piece her mother’s family together (I am her mother’s second cousin), which has pleased her as it’s answered a few questions for her.

There is also a link to Bishopwearmouth and Durham.

P. J. Stanley, 139 Middlesex Drive, Bletchley, Milton Keyes, Bucks, email: Peter.56@live.co.uk Tel: 01908 370747

I WOULD just like to know if it’s possible for the gentleman who telephoned me a couple of weeks ago regarding 176 Canon Cockin Street, Sunderland, to please contact me again.

It’s the gentleman who lived behind 176 Canon Cockin Street in the 1950s.

Anthony Atkin, Tel. 0191 371 3387

WOULD Kathleen Cowan or Yvonne Sykes please contact Marjorie (Ashton).

Tel. 07745 562924

DOES anyone know the whereabouts of Tom Todd?

He lived in York Way, Camden, North London, in the late 70s, early 80s.

He was originally from Sunderland and moved back there in the early 80s. I know he had a sister called Bernice as I met her when she visited him in London.

His friends in London are having a get-together before we all get too old and would love to see him again.

Thanks very much.

Steve Toplek, Tel. 02087 711167