Letters, Wednesday, November 21, 2012

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MPs need to be more transparent

FOLLOWING the tsunami of sleaze that engulfed the House of Commons in 2009, you would have thought that MPs of all parties would be circumspect about the spending of taxpayers’ money with regard to their allowances – clearly not.

 It has emerged that at least 27 Members of Parliament have used the loopholes in the expenses system to rent properties from each other at the taxpayers expense.

 Following the Freedom of Information inquiry it has emerged that over 300 MPs rent property at the taxpayers’ expense, of these 51 have refused to divulge from whom they rent them.

 Included in these 51 are two of the city’s MPs, Sharon Hodgson the member for Washington and Sunderland West, and Julie Elliott, the member for Sunderland Central.

 I am not a constituent of Ms Hodgson but as a constituent of Ms Elliott and a taxpayer can she, through these columns, say why she has withheld this information?

  If her colleague Bridget Phillipson can be transparent about her rental arrangements then one can only assume that Ms Elliott is holding something back.

 If MPs cannot be transparent about the way they spend taxpayers’ money, it is another kick in the teeth for the democratic process.

Dennis McDonald,

Fulwell

Not in it together

ALAN Wright (Echo, November 13) was incorrect when he accused me of ignoring the facts inconvenient to my arguments.

 He quoted, for example, words from Chris Mullin’s diaries which I’d said were tittle tattle.

 However, Mr Wright was wrong and I was right.

 The definition of the word fact is “a thing that is definitely the case” and the meaning of the word hearsay “information received from other people which is possibly unreliable.

 Yes, tittle-tattle, but there’s no need to apologise Mr Wright.

 Alan didn’t comment on the atrocious state his Government has got this country into. Instead he waffed away from the problem by going, once again, down memory lane.

 Alan should end his “over the garden wall gossip” and face the fact that Cameron’s and Osborne’s polices have made it harder for ordinary families.

 Mr Wright should open his eyes and see the message from the respected National Institute of Economic and Social Research, which said Chancellor Osborne’s austerity policy has played a major part in causing Britain’s recession, is “self-defeating” and his budget deficits have stayed high because of the recession.

 It added, growth would have been higher if the austerity programme had not been persued – it is fundamentally flawed.

 Even on its own terms it is making matters worse. Yes, especially for those being hit by cuts to disability, housing benefits and tax credits. Charities are also reporting sharp increases in the number of children going hungry, NHS waiting lists are lengthening and food banks are increasing.

 Meanwhile, millionaires will receive a £42,000 tax cut, and the richest 1,000 in the UK have increased their wealth by £155billion since the crisis began.

 Are you sure we are all in this together Mr Cameron?

W Quinn,

Millfield

Stop the waffle

THIS is an open letter to Mr Quinn and Mr Wright.

 Arrange to meet, have a drink, perhaps, you never know, you might like each other.

 Failing that, start a debating forum. But above all else, please stop subjecting the letter’s page with tit-for-tat, mind numbing waffle.

 This has gone on far too long, even Bob Dylan sang, you are right from your side and I’m right from mine.

 But I doubt if you have heard of him, after all he is not a politician.

T Thomson,

Sunderland

Work for wages

IT pains me think that I and other licence payers helped to make Jimmy Savile and Co millionaires, allowing them to violate little, innocent children.

 I hope he rots in hell and it’s about time the television licence was abolished.

 They should have to work for their wages like the independent television channels do.

Mrs V Eastick,

Ford Estate

Thanks for help

ON Monday, November 5, I was hurt in an accident in the car park of Lidl.

 I wish to send my thanks to the man from the St John’s Ambulance who made me comfortable and stayed with me until the arrival of the police and ambulance crew who were excellent, as were the nurses who looked after me.

 Thanks to all. You were magnificent.

Stan,

Silksworth

Easy solution

SO once again this Government is unable to deport Abu Qatada after spending millions of pounds in rent payment, benefits and legal aid costs!

 How can this Government reclaim any of these costs back? Easy, declare Abu Qatada fit for work then see how long he stays here.

Robert McKinnon,

Millfield