Letters, Saturday, April 7th, 2012

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Budget reaffirms bid to tackle debt

YOUR correspondent Derek Robe (Letters, March 27) attacks the fairness of the recent Budget.

But it includes the largest ever increase in personal tax allowance that will benefit 24million families up and down the country. Most basic rate taxpayers will gain £220 every year. In total this Government will have taken two million lower-paid people out of tax altogether – 82,000 of them in the North East.

The top rate of income tax is also being reduced to 45 per cent, so Britain no longer has the highest rate of income tax in the G20. High rates of income tax undermine the country’s competitiveness and make it more difficult to create jobs. There are new taxes on the richest in society, including a cap on tax reliefs which together raise £500million. As a result of this Budget the richest will be paying more, not less.

To boost investment and jobs – to get the economic growth from which we all benefit (especially those currently unemployed) – there is also an additional one per cent cut in corporation tax. Britain will soon have the lowest corporation tax in the G7 – a sign to the rest of the world that Britain is open for business.

In the North East the local enterprise partnerships (LEPS) will receive a further £11million for investment in the region.

What the Budget also does is reaffirm the Government’s unswerving commitment to deal with Britain’s debts. Under Labour this country borrowed itself into trouble; now we are going to earn our way out.

Coun Peter Wood, Deputy Conservative Council Group Leader

Centre revamp

“HARRATON Old Miners’ Welfare Centre”, as it was once called, was built from the old miners’ funds by G. Durham, opened June 1933 by Mr Henzell, colliery manager, and William Kay, miners’ secretary.

I have never seen this building look so glorious, and this has been accomplished by a special needs team, boys, girls and men, watched over by what I would say is a special team who care about the world we live in and our fellow men and women.

If employers could see and watch these lads and lasses, how they work hard at it, it could maybe see these people used in some employment. They’re “real grafters”.

I stop each day on my way to my allotment with my dog. They like to make a fuss of it, and I get from them the work that is planned for the day. I give them praise each day, and how very proud they are of what they achieve.

The whole area, front, back and sides, is cleaned up, spotless, brickwork repaired, hanging baskets, flower tubs planted and at the rear railway sleepers put in, soil applied, flowers and shrubs planted.

I hope you can at least print my thanks as an ex-Harraton worker.

Derek Young, Pinewood Avenue, Harraton

Patriotic respect

LAST week marked an important day for our country’s modern history. Public pride was once again left whitewashed to the rule of political correctness. I am referring to the defeat of Argentinian forces in the Falklands War.

Back then national pride and flag-waving was promoted by the politicians as it served them well to be re-elected. Now, we have to suffer the indignity of being hailed racists by showing patriotism for the very flag that has cost so much blood of our brave countrymen and those of the Commonwealth.

It should not matter what side of the political fence you sit on or what god you believe in. When our servicemen and women go off to war or conflict, we the public should never forget their sacrifice or duty, and days like these should be marked correctly, displaying the patriotism for those who have died protecting that right to do so.

I know Northern Ireland is another “dirty word” to most of our political elite, but it did happen and we lost a lot of honest good men and women defending the mission set by Government.

As with all conflicts the armed forces are used when politicians fail – and they rarely succeed – so don’t put their memories on the bottom shelf but honour them and give back a little of what they deserve – pride and respect.

Keith Powell

Sad decline

I WAS born in Sunderland and I’m very proud of my northern roots, the hard-working people and the lovely shops.

I had to leave Sunderland and my family for a career in the South. Over the years I have seen a great deterioration in Sunderland when I have visited my family. The shops are poor, the people walk around with a pasty or a pie in their hands. Sunderland town, where have you gone?

At Metro stations from Newcastle to South Hylton, I could tell without knowing where I was – the filth, the rubbish and rats, yes rats, playing along the line near University station. What would the foreign students think of Sunderland?

I got off at South Hylton to walk along to Estuary Way, with my case. On your left, where the houses are and along the path, there was rubbish, bottles, dog poo bags hanging from the fence. The underpass, it was a nightmare.

Thank God I’m only visiting. What a dump Sunderland has become.

Maureen Hall, Midtrees, Surrey