Letters, Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

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Government that just doesn’t care

IN his letter “Another side to ‘pasty tax ’ U-turn” (Letters, May 31) Michael Dixon makes an erroneous link between the Conservative-led Coalition Government’s U-turn on the pasty tax and the overseas aid budget – the inference being that if the Government is deprived of income from the “pasty tax” then overseas aid may be adversely affected.

As a Conservative supporter, Mr Dixon’s attempt to link the tax to this Government’s

altruistic desire to care for the poor is disingenuous and contemptible. Most political commentators agree that the “pasty tax” and the “granny tax” were introduced to fund the Conservatives’ commitment to reducing the 50 pence tax rate for its wealthy friends and benefactors.

Since coming into power this Government has effectively declared war on public services, alienating policemen, firemen, nurses, teachers and most recently doctors, in their attempts to make them pay for the mistakes caused by their friends in the city.

This has resulted in professionals such as headteachers striking for the first time in over 100 years and doctors striking for the first time in over 40 years, while policeman have even used their own time to protest.

Its attacks on the education service have led to teachers’ morale being at its lowest for years and have resulted in uniting the two biggest teaching unions for the first time ever against the onslaught on their profession.

The recent attempt by the Government to demonise doctors who – shock, horror – are paid £100,000 a year and dare to stand up for their contractual pension rights, while at the same time turning a blind eye to million-pound bonuses in the city and tax avoidance on a huge scale is sickening.

Everywhere you look services to help the community – the old, the sick, children and vulnerable people are being cut and yet Mr Dixon wants us to believe that he is concerned that the U-turn on the “pasty tax” will have an impact on overseas aid to poor people.

Pull the other one, Mr Dixon, its got bells on. The Conservative Party has demonstrated in its short time in government that it cares nothing about the vulnerable and poor in this country, never mind overseas.

Robert Scott, Peterlee

Misguided fanatic

RE the story in the Echo on Saturday, June 2, about an effigy hung up on gibbet at Elsdon – believed to be the work of a Newcastle fan. Of course it is.

Only a Newcastle fanatic would do this. Notice I said fanatic not fan. Fans are people who like football, support and go to watch their team.

The fanatic is the type who professes to know all there is about their team – and will fight anyone who disagrees with them – even if they are wrong. I know, I served drink to them for 17 years in clubs in Durham.

The fanatic eats, sleeps, dreams, studies all the facts of this team. Other teams do not exist to him.

As a landlord I used to have bar towels on my bar. The only one I had of Stella Artois was red and white. Like a rag to a bull – it used to get tossed. A Sunderland Echo would be immediately thrown or torn up.

Fanatics like these ought to be caged like W. Winter was.

K. Stott

Run-down building

PLEASE can something be done to the so-called Art Studio in Hind Street?

The windows are just filthy, so neglected – the whole building is a mess.

Visitors coming to our beautiful Empire theatre or our magnificent Minster are passing this shocking, run-down building. It is just so awful to see.

Please, please, someone do something soon.

Mary Smith, Beckwith Mews, Silksworth, Sunderland

No sweet music

CONCERNING the choice of music (Doctor, Doctor, June 1) which will play while patients wait to be put through, I have to tell you that as a member of “Pipedown”, The Campaign for Freedom from Piped Music (www.newpipedown@btinter-net.com www.pipedowninfo), I stood in Northumberland Street, Newcastle on a Saturday afternoon and collection hundreds of petition signatures from people who detest “muzak” in shops and other public places.

Almost everyone who signed spoke of their fury at having to listen to music on the telephone while they waited to be connected. “Pipedown” also campaigns against this intrusion.

It would be interesting to hear other readers’ opinions as I personally have never met anyone who admits to liking it. Indeed most say they are driven to distraction.

M. A. Hunter, Washington