There’s much to praise

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It is difficult to know where to start with Sharon Hodgson’s downbeat column about housing on January 21.

She forgets, that Mr Blair and Mr Brown went through many Housing Ministers, while property repossessions reached unacceptable levels in 2008. The economic crisis, that took place on her Government’s watch, saw the growth of the sale-leaseback form of transaction, which meant people in desperate financial straits were being exploited by unscrupulous buyers, who then became their landlords.

I should not need to tell Sharon that there are countless properties in our area which have a sale price of £80,000, that are affordable for first-time buyers.

What I would also like to hear more from Ms Hodgson is a recognition of the hard work being carried out by Sunderland Council’s excellent housing team, working alongside conscientious accredited private landlords. It is time to spread good news rather than this negativity about the standard of privately-rented houses. Many of poor quality have existed under Labour and will continue to do so under any Government, but there is a gradual upward trend in standards.

It is unfortunate that Sharon should use her Echo column to spread such a downbeat message.

Coun Michael Dixon,

Deputy Leader of the Group of Conservative Councillors

Sunderland City Council