Letters, Friday, March 28, 2014

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People need to take party back

IN his letter (March 21) Michael Dodds is quite correct to castigate the Government for its creeping privatisation of the NHS.

 By implication, Michael Dodds also condemns the previous governments. The nearest Tory MPs to Sunderland are at Stockton South and Hexham – excepting Berwick-upon-Tweed, which is Lib-Dem – all the rest are Labour held.

 Time after time we vote Labour and get scant reward.

 With such a bloc in the Parliamentary Labour Party our elected representatives should be making a serious impact – but are not and have not. The three sitting MPs for the Sunderland constituencies are quite useless in this regard following as they do in the wake of their predecessors with the notable exceptions of Chris Mullin and Bob Clay.

 Worse, as all three are supporters and followers of the ‘Progress Tendency’ they seem to meekly follow the diktats of their leader – the disgraced Lord Peter Mandelson, himself the protege of equally abhorrent Tony Blair.

 Between them, they reduced the Labour Party to a meaningless Parliamentary rump which embraced privatisation not only in the NHS but in education and public utilities as well.

 The ordinary person, trade union branch and residents’ groups should get into the Labour Party and purge it of these rudderless, visionless careerists so that we, the common people, can have our party back.

Bob Stothard,

Washington

Penalising the poor

AFTER evaluating the conclusions reached by several financial experts on the latest budget figures, I am now of the opinion that it’s another case of the Chancellor taking the bread from the poor man’s table so he can put more cream on the rich man’s cake.

 Mr Osborne said the budget was for savers. What about the people who, because of his policies, have nothing to save. The millions of working people whose living standards are constantly falling, the 4.6million families who will have their tax credits cut. Also the thousands of people working, or otherwise, who are having to use food banks to live, the 400,000 disabled people paying bedroom tax.

 The Chancellor stated the economy was on the mend. Yet the official figures tell a different story.

 They say wages will not rise faster than RPI inflation in every year to 2019. So no matter how hard you graft the spending power of your earnings will fall.

 Cutting public investment, when output was down, stalled the recovery and created unnecessary hardship to the working class while the rich got richer. Mr Osborne’s policies have created the worst wage squeeze and the slowest recovery for a century.

 A Save the Children director for UK poverty complained “the Budget was a missed opportunity to address the needs of families struggling to pay their food bill”.

 Need I say more?

W Quinn

Money grabbing

GEORGE Osborne in his Budget claimed people should be able to purchase a Ferrari with their pension pot if that was their wont.

 What he did not say was that it is after his grubby little fingers have taken their share.

 For example, a £100,000 pension pot entitles the pension-holder to £25,000 tax free – it does not take a genius to know that this leaves £75,000 in the pot

 If this money is taken for a Ferrari in one year, the highest rate of income tax will be deducted. This means your £100,000 pension pot has been reduced by more than one third.

 Small wonder this set of charlatans are insisting everyone should have a pension, it ensures more money is grabbed from working folk, who think they are providing for retirement. Cancel the Ferrari as a Mondeo is looking more like it.

David Patterson,

Fence Houses

Afraid of choice

I SEE the Labour Election Campaign for this May’s council elections has started early – at least in Hetton. There seems to be a lot of activity from the Labour MP and local Labour councillors.

 These people will be strangers to most of the residents of Hetton and will be seen as “coming out of the woodwork” looking for our votes only to disappear after the election for another year.

 If they really want to help the people they should be showing this level of interest all the time and asking us what we really want.

 A shining example of this is the Houghton and Copt Hill wards. Where the Independent councillors have fought a long and hard battle to close down the massive refuse tip in the middle of their wards. Much to the annoyance of Sunderland Council.

 Apart from the election, why is it they have now decided to chase our vote – a vote they have taken for granted for so many years? Are they worried that we now have a real choice at these elections – Labour or an Independent.

A Allen

What of defence?

FURTHER to Denis Gillon’s letter on Scottish independence, I haven’t heard any mention of what an independent Scotland would do about an army, navy or air force to defend itself.

 What about fishing rights? Would they be repatriated to Scotland while what’s left of the UK’s fishing rights would still be under EU rule?

Kay Rowham

True blues star

BO Diddley was America’s rhythm and blues star, songwriter, singer and famous musician.

 He signed to Chess Records, along with stars such as Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.

 His hits included as You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover, Have Guitar Will Travel, and Hey Good Lookin’.

 He died aged 79 in June 2008. I will never forget the great man of rhythm and blues, star icon, the late Bo Diddley.

Terry Christie