Letters, Thursday, August 8, 2013

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Have your say

I still believe in the idea of fair society

MANY thanks to Kevin Leary (July 29) whose meticulous research reveals that the Labour Party were also complicit in the ‘cynical act’ of closing Remploy factories.

 It seems that the only political party to emerge with any credit from this sorry saga is the Socialist Workers’ Party, who, Mr Leary points out were vociferous in their opposition to these cruel closures.

 I think, Mr Leary may well be correct in his assertion that I need counselling.

 As I no longer live in a council house, I am obviously too swanky to be voting Labour, but I just can’t help myself. I have this ridiculous idea in my head of an egalitarian society, where there is justice and fairness. Where the government does not take money from the poor and give it to the rich. Where the fabulously wealthy pay their fair share of taxes and where those unfortunate enough to need help are not vilified as scroungers because of a few bad apples.

 Yes, an absolutely ridiculous concept, I know.

 I really must lock myself away with a year’s supply of the Daily Mail, a copy of Mein Kampf and a television tuned only to Fox News.

 Only then will I be able to emerge into the real world of dog eat dog and the “I’m all right Jack” society in which we now live.

Name and address withheld

A costly mistake

IN response to Coun George Howe’s letter, W Quinn tries to brush off the huge losses over the council’s miscalculation of the estimates for the iconic bridge (Letters, August 1).

 The cancellation had nothing to do with doubts over being able to build the bridge. It was simply the council underestimated the cost and the quotations came in higher – hence the cancellation. It was not doubts over its construction nor a U-turn on the decision to go for an iconic structure. It was a costly mistake that caused it to be scrapped.

 Quite correctly, the Echo’s editorial called for the council to come clean and publish the loss.

 Why have the council not divulged the cost of this error?

Alan Wright

No justification

RECENT correspondents are trying to distance themselves from their enthusiastic support for the scrapped iconic bridge fiasco – especially those Conservative councillors who utilised full page adverts, using silly artists’ impressions of the iconic bridge images as background in their campaign for their parliamentary candidate in May 2010.

 If there was any logic, foresight and vision possessed by Sunderland Councillors, both Labour and Conservative, the first reaction should have been to order their employees in the planning department to also scrap the Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC).

 Will they ever face up to the realities that the topography of the ill-conceived site for Sunderland’s new bridge is entirely ill-suited to accommodate a cable stay or suspension bridge design? (A point missed by bridge expert Simon Bourne).

 Why indeed, should they spurn the Claxheugh green route or an amended blue site from the Vaux site to the SoL area for two new road crossings? Millions of pounds have been spent on feasibility studies to establish the best bridge locations. Why abandon them in secrecy in 2006?

 There is no justification for the SSTC when the Town and Country Planning Act was enacted so that the proper use of land should be in the public interests.

 The creation of antisocial permanent road detours such as the SSTC must be resisted.

 To the waste of £13.4million to re-align St Mary’s Way, add another £4million of council tax.

Dr T in his column informs us that one-sixth of the Vaux site is being lost (£24 million in cost to buy).

Ron McQuillan

Airport assistance

AS a result of the publicity following our meeting with Fiona Hall MEP last week, we have received phone calls from potential passengers, who haven’t flown in years, as they were unaware they could request assistance at the airport, free of charge.

 This is particularly relevant to older passengers who are not disabled, but need a helping hand.

 We would like to hear from more passengers and community groups to see how we can raise awareness, as age shouldn’t be a barrier to travel.

 Please contact us on 08448 706723 or visit our website www.able2fly.com

Fiona Quinn

Finance & Administration Director

able2fly Limited

Means test benefit

THE average cost of childcare is between £200 and £300 per week per child. So it is obvious that working parents on a low income are struggling to provide this for their children and do need financial assistance or have to rely on friends and relatives for help.

 But in this new proposal, it appears that a working couple, earning almost £3,000 a month each, can claim a refund from the Government’s proposed scheme.

 If they had a brood of 10 children at a cost of £300 per week, per child, total £3,000 – they would still have a clear £3,000 a week income.

 I do not think the taxpayer should be subsidising such families.

 I have no problem with help for the lower paid families, but in times where everyone is experiencing cuts, including pensioners, I believe all benefits should be means tested to make sure money is going to those in proper need and not given to those who can afford to stand on their own two feet.

Miss T Ryman

Ground the airshow

DEFINITE no to four days of the airshow.

 Is it not time to give it a miss for a year or two?

 Lots of people I know just want to get away from it.

Elizabeth Lynch

Illuminations ‘liked’

BRING back Sunderland Illuminations has 2,539 ‘likes’ on Facebook, so how come Sunderland can afford an airshow at a cost of thousands but no light show?

 We have one of the most beautiful coastlines in Great Britain and we are, indeed, a seaside town, yet there is nothing at Seaburn to lure tourists down to our beautiful seafront.

 When I was growing up, we had a fun fair, a showfield and ice cream kiosks. There was people and there was, most importantly, life.

 The council, as it stands, does nothing to embrace what we have and when it tries, it’s a case of too little too late.

 Sunderland is indeed falling behind, so things like the illumations would work as a great attraction for tourists and bring money to the local economy.

  Most local Sunderland people I have spoken to feel that the swimming facilities in Sunderland do not cater well for kids since Crowtree closed, which also included an ice-rink and several other popular sporting facilities.

 The light show was the largest of its kind outside Blackpool, illuminating the six-mile seafront from Whitburn to Wearmouth Bridge with more than 160,000 coloured bulbs and 100 displays.

 A record four million people visited the lights at the height of their popularity in 1992, two years before Sunderland City Council cancelled the 10-week show because it could no longer foot the £250,000 bill – yet it can afford the airshow.

 The crowd-pulling lights were a regular feature on the seafront before the Second World War. They made a brief return in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until 1986 that they regularly attracted tens of thousands of visitors.

Kevin Stoker

Chilly reception

DOES anyone know the legalities regarding the noise the chimes on an ice cream van should make?

 Quite frankly, I am sick of it.

 Almost on a daily basis they turn up blasting out a ridiculous tune, which is followed by a score of pimply faced children wanting monkey’s blood on their cornet.

 It’s becoming a dreadful inconvenience as the ‘icy’ turns up at any time of the day or night with no regard for nightshift workers.

 I may consult my MP.

Mick The Pen Brown