Letters, Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Have your say

Nothing fair about cutting benefits

ROBERT Oliver thinks it is “fair” to reduce the incomes of the poorest people in the country and thereby drag another 200,000 children below the poverty threshold.

 Unfortunately, the Tory concept of what is fair is wildly at odds with that of ordinary people.

  I wonder if the councillor joined in with the wild cheering and waving of order papers by fatcat Tory MPs as the odious Iain Duncan-Smith (yes, he who closed the Remploy factories – nice man) announced this measure in the House of Commons.

 The sport of benefit-bashing is, of course, second only to ripping foxes to bits with packs of dogs in the Tory list of favourite pastimes.

 By ironic coincidence, the money saved by reducing the incomes of the low paid (£3billion) is the exact same amount that it will cost taxpayers to fund the 5p cut in tax rate for the mega rich.

 I do not suppose it has occurred to Coun Oliver that it would help to remove people from the benefit trap if there were actually some jobs to go to.

 His pals in Westminster have sacked 700,000 public sector workers and then they brand the unemployed skivers, shirkers and workshy scroungers.

 It would also help if they were to raise the minimum wage to the “living wage“ level of £7.45 an hour. Not much chance of them doing that.

 Tony Blair set the original minimum wage level far too low, but even at the miserable level of £3.60 in 1999 the Tories voted against it.

 Perhaps they thought it wasn’t fair.

E Royal

Exercise dilemma

MANY will remember my letter regarding councils selling off miniature mechanical diggers and road-sweepers and buying shovels and brushes for monetary reasons.

 I also talked about how it would help with health problems, such as obesity. I too need to lose a few pounds so I thought I would mention a few points that I have noticed in my wanders.

 On my shopping excursion I saw three mince and onion pies on sale for the miniscule price of 5p, which would make one of them cost 4d in real money. In a different shop four apples were on sale for £2, which would make one apple 10/- on real money, which certainly does not promote healthy eating.

 When I was a schoolboy I was given 1d for my bus fare to school and in those days there was a conductor taking the fares, whom we would evade to save the afore-mentioned 1d so that we could spend it on tuck.

 When the conductor was made redundant we would walk to and from school. Today’s schoolchildren have no conductors to avoid and they have 90p to pay for bus fare but they do not try to save the 90p by walking, they happily pay – getting no exercise to and from school.

 Escalators are totally unavoidable in some metro stations, and indeed shops, of which I am grateful, thanks to osteo-arthritis in my joints, but I do use the stairs to return to the ground level where available.

 Shop doors and, on all bus stations apart from our very own bus station, open automatically, a la Star Trek-style, which means no exercise for our arms.

 So we need to exercise to lose weight, but, in fact, the only time I tend to get exercise is when I visit the local tavern where the doors have to be physically pulled or pushed to open to achieve entrance and exit.

Alan “The Quill” Vincent,

Old Penshaw

Fab year for store

BONMARCHE in Sunderland has been celebrating its first birthday. 

 This is our first year of trading since we were bought by Sun European and what a fab year it has been.

 I would to say a big thank you to all our customers in Sunderland for supporting us through the last year, wishing them all a happy new year and thanking them for their support in helping us raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

 So far we have raised £113,781 as a company, which is fantastic.

Rita Richardson,


Misguided attitude

AS an ex-soldier with 42 years service, I take great exception to the opinion of Ged Taylor, (Friday, January 25). Prince Harry, having just completed a tour of duty with his unit, will have had no special treatment, other than maybe a certain amount of protection which can be expected.

 He will have faced the same dangers as the many other of our brave lads who are serving in Afghanistan.

 As every other serviceman, Harry has taken the Oath of Allegiance to his Queen and Country, his loyalty and commitment being unquestionable.

 Of course he is not a hero as cynically suggested, but purely carrying out his military duty.

 It seems that Ged, in his pure sarcasm, suggests that all is not as it appears in the recent news clip, and that he is treated differently.

 Being cynical is defined as “a contempt of luxury” and “sneering at goodness”. I am afraid that this sums up this misguided attitude.

Tony Lynn