Letters, Saturday, January 7th, 2012

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Real jobs and real unemployment

ALLAN Wilkinson recently gave this page the impression that jobs are just numbers on a piece of paper, in his implausible endeavour to equate the employment created by the last Labour Government and Cameron’s current cuts.

His attempt seems impracticable, however, in the real world. In work and out of work are at opposite ends of the spectrum – they don’t relate. One brings scrutiny and hope, the other brings desolation. So when Mr Wilkinson criticised Labour for creating employment in the area that was previously devastated and left barren of industry by the previous Tory Government, I felt he was just another Tory spin doctor.

Allan confirmed this to me with this ridiculous statement: “The present government is stuck with this over-employment, and the huge cost of this action”. Over-employment! If Allan looks up from his biased comments he will observe a long line of forlorn people (almost three million) placed in that position because of savage Tory policies. All at a huge cost to the taxpayer.

Mr Wilkinson then came out with another cracker. He states the hundreds of thousands jobs created by Labour in the public sector were not real jobs but just positions made to bring unemployment numbers down. I believe this is a slight on the good work done by our paramedics, care workers, police, school dinner staff, probation workers and cleaners etc.

Allan seemed to infer that Gordon Brown was a spendthrift. Facts indicate otherwise. When Labour came into power Gordon spent billions rectifying Tory damage, and still kept the national debt below the level left by the Tories (£350billion).

Along with the rest of the world it went sky high because of the global crisis. Allan should never forget that Labour’s plan to cut the deficit by half was working. The economy was growing at 1.8 per cent, unemployment was falling and VAT was reduced. Then along came Osborne whose incompetence has put us in the sorry state that we are now.

W. Quinn, Duke Street, Millfield

Union salaries

DURING the last meeting of the full council, members debated the Conservative group’s notice of motion regarding the little-known fact that Sunderland City Council pay the salaries of seven full-time members of various public sector unions, funded by the city taxpayers.

The motion asked that this practice be withdrawn as it presented a possible risk of a conflict of interest and also that the taxpayer should not pick up the tab for rich unions who received massive amounts from membership contributions.  

As a motion, it was simple to understand and the question was why should the taxpayer subsidise unions which then go on strike and deprive the taxpayers access to the council’s facilities and deny them the right of being able to contact council officials should they have any concerns.

While the unions play an important role in society, they should not be given funding from the public purse. Further, if unions can allow six-figure salaries to their presidents or other top officials and at the same time pay £26,000 into their pension pots, then why can’t they fund their own activities?

The Labour majority council, as usual, rejected the notice of motion, and until the Government legislates against this misuse of taxpayer money this feather-bedding of unions will continue.

Councillor George Howe, Fulwell Ward

Heavy defeats

I AM writing about the SAFC heavy defeats letter from Steve Telford (Letters, January 2).

I was at Upton Park to witness West Ham beating us 8-0 in 1968. I was with my brothers Sammy (king of the Fulwell End) and Herbie. We didn’t see this coming because in the first 20 minutes Sunderland could have easily been 2-0 up. The rest is history.

I also witnessed a heavy defeat at Roker Park. Again it was West Ham. I think this was 1965. Sunderland were beaten 5-1. Again no one in the ground saw this coming. Sunderland should have been 3-0 up inside 15 minutes, then Bobby Moore put into his own goal, Sunderland winning at half-time 1-0.

West Ham had an outside right called Harry Redknapp (ha, what’s he doing now?). He tore the Sunderland defence apart. In the second half West Ham should have been eight, but got five.

These, however, are great memories still. Good old Roker Park – the Roker Roar.

Bobby Smith, West View, Ryhope

Thanks for help

ON Boxing Day night my wife slipped and fell in the Farringdon Club and clashed her head, needing seven stitches.

I don’t know what I would have done if it wasn’t for the people who dashed to help her. They treated her with loving care and tenderness. They were superb. Myself and my family would like to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts and say she is on the mend.

Fred Leadbitter