Letters, Monday, March 12th

Have your say

Ways of wasting taxpayers’ money

TORY Minister Eric Pickles and Councillor Robert Oliver recently criticised some local councils for spending taxpayers’ money on lobbyists. Those that know their onions, however, will realise the criticism applies equally to both Eric and Robert.

 For they support a Government that spends public money without restraint when dealing with their friends in the private sector. Take City consultants Deloitte (donators of £700,000 to the Tories) who have been given 16 lucrative Ministry of Defence (MoD) contracts in the last two years.

 Crying poverty, the MoD are reducing the armed forces down to a point which some experts believe is below our security safety line (Cameron insists we could borrow an aircraft carrier from France).

 Amid this MoD jobs massacre, with thousands of our brave personnel thrown on the dole, Deloitte pocketed £7.2million. Deloitte have stated the MoD spent a total of £290million last year.

 Let’s get this right. At a time when Britain has to go “cap in hand” to its neighbour for the loan of a ship, the MoD are paying £290million in consultancy fees to a private sector that only provides them with advice.

 The mind boggles, and what if this extravagance has spread to other Government departments? This would be a scandalous waste of taxpayers’ money and undermine public confidence in the political system.

W. Quinn,

Duke Street,


On the same side

I WOULD like the opportunity to rectify some of misconceptions Sheila Ellis (Letters, March 2) seems to have in relation to the Houghton landfill site and the comment made about Labour activists claiming to be Rats supporters.

 Firstly, the people who were in Houghton collecting names for a petition on Saturday, February 25, at no time made any claim to be supporters of Rats and made no such representation to members of the public.

 Secondly, it was not the Sunderland Labour council who gave permission for the site – it was Tyne and Wear County Council in the mid-1980s.

 Sheila Ellis says in her letter she would welcome support to stop the continuation of the site. The Labour activists only want the same thing as Sheila and therefore this is support, but from a different direction.

 I would like to assure anyone who signed the Labour activists’ petition that the purpose of this is genuine and that this will be used for the purpose it was intended, which is to try and halt the continuation of the site.

 This is the best time to campaign for the closure of the site because the licence is almost at an end. The aim is to prevent a further licence being granted.

 Surely, the more support there is, the better the chance of effecting change. There is always strength in numbers.

Gemma Taylor,


Death of a hero

WHEN Pc David Rathband (pictured) was shot and blinded in the course of his duty, I was shocked and could not believe it at the time. He went on to show a strength that many of us would fail to find.  

 He set a great example to all of us in trying to come to terms with his predicament.

 Sadly, as his brother Darren explained on TV, he fought his disability with great strength, but God knows why he finally gave in. God forbid for any of us to face that challenge.

 I have my own problems which cause difficulties, but I must admit I cried when I saw David talking about being in the dark and wishing someone would switch the light on.

 I don’t mind admitting I cried even more when I saw his brother, who is his double and talks like him and is also a policeman in Australia, saying every time I look in the mirror I will see him and when I am older I will know what he would have looked like.

 The burden Darren will carry for the rest of his life is a great one, and I for one wish that he is strong and God is on his side. I can only say the best I can do is give him my love, and tell him his brother will never be forgotten in the North East.

Bill Lynch

Bright ideas

SO they have put a bus shelter on a non-bus route. Well, what of it? They have also got a railway station without a public toilet. They watched it modernised to the tune of £7million and still did nothing about a toilet for it.

 What’s next – a brewery for the Vaux site? Or perhaps a shipyard for the Wear? A new engine for the Adelaide?

R. Tomlinson,

The Avenue,