Letters, Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

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Letter writers are ignoring the facts

THERE have been several letters attacking the Government by using broad statements that contain little or no substance, the latest being “Policies targeting the vulnerable” (Letters, March 9).

In this letter there is a claim that David Cameron “has no compassion and is cowardly attacking vulnerable and elderly people”. Could the writer be referring to the winter cold weather payments being increased from £8.25 a week to £25 a week? Or is it 10,000 North East people being taken out of income tax altogether in April 2012? Could it be that in April this year the state pension will have risen by £9.55 a week since this Government came to power in 2010? We all recall Gordon Brown’s derisory 70p a week increase in the state pension. Now that was an attack on the vunerable.

The writer then attacks the Government over the NHS. This is bad timing just a week after planning permission was granted for the building of a new hospital in Ryhope.

There was also the funding recently made available for the building of a multi-storey car park at the Royal Hospital.

The timing got worse for the writer when his letter was published on the day it was announced that a new pathology “centre for excellence” will be developed at a North East hospital following a £12million grant from the Government.

The Government is increasing investment in the health service by £11.5billion over the next four years – investment opposed by Labour. This will pay for improved services such as 4,200 more health visitors and the Cancer Drugs Fund, which has helped over 2,000 patients get access to the drugs they need. There are 896 more midwives and 4,175 more doctors in the NHS since May 2010.

Labour has opposed the Government’s increased investment in the NHS. The Shadow Health Secretary has called an increase in NHS funding “irresponsible”.

As for claiming that work experience is slave labour, this is just ridiculous. What is wrong in asking people on benefits to get a few weeks’ experience of the workplace? Could it be that the writer is terrified of any success for the scheme? 40,000 people have taken part in the scheme and around half who have taken part have come off benefits.

Let us have more facts and less shameful scaremongering.

Coun Alan Wright, Conservative, St Chad’s Ward

Parting words

ONE of the oddest gifts I’ve received lately is a truly fascinating book to read, Famous Last Words, which is a compilation of 177 fond farewells.

Charlie Chaplin still held his great sense of humour with his last breath to his priest, who prayed “May the Lord have mercy on your soul”. Charlie replied: “Why not? After all it belongs to him.”

Our very own George Washington, who could have been America’s president in perpetuity because he was so loved and America’s first hero as well as first President.

As George was leaving the world behind in 1799 his last words were: “I am about to die and I am not afraid to die. I thank you for your attention and I pray you to take no more trouble for me. Let me go quietly. I cannot last long.”

After reading this book by Ray Robinson, a former journalist and popular author, I just knew what words I would chose.

I would like to give the best advise from my life’s experience summed up in two words: “Don’t Smoke”!

As I am a town crier, I would cry out these two little words because I believe they could save tend thousands lives.

Jimmy Chambers, Durham Avenue, Washington

Grateful charity

I WOULD like to say a huge thank-you on behalf of the nation’s heart charity, the British Heart Foundation (BHF,) to everyone who got involved with our Red for Heart fund-raising campaign in National Heart Month.

During February, the BHF asks the public to think about their hearts and the hearts of those around them and to help us raise vital funds for our lifesaving work. Anything was possible during National Heart Month, as long as it was red.

We are grateful for the funds raised. These will go towards supporting the 2.7million people living with heart disease in the UK.

Louise Parkes, Fund-raising director

Thanks for help

MY heartfelt thanks to the lady who came to my rescue after I had the misfortune to walk into a vandalised road sign on The Avenue, Seaham, on March 8.

She not only attended to my immediate needs, but then drove me to the local medical drop-in centre, for which I am most grateful.

David Durnan, Sharpley Drive, Seaham