Bridget Phillipson: ‘U-turn after U-turn’

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LESS than three months after Chancellor George Osborne presented his Budget to Parliament, we’ve seen U-turn after U-turn.

Policies that were defended to the hilt have been dumped. From the pasty tax, to the caravan tax to the charity tax, the Government has been forced to climb down.

All of these U-turns have been announced when Parliament is in recess to avoid scrutiny and to take attention away from other Government woes.

It just shows what a mess the Government is in. No sooner do we have an ill thought out announcement than we have a hasty retreat.

These individual measures are important, but it doesn’t alter the need for the Government to think again about the lack of growth and jobs in the economy.

There is also no sign of a retreat over the tax cut in the budget for millionaires, while pensioners and families have been asked to contribute more.

I’m relieved that the trial of those charged in connection with the death of Sunderland dad Joe Arthur has got under way.

It has still been beset with problems, but it is a start. When I met with Joe’s family, it was clear that they had done all that had been asked of them.

In return, all they asked was for the trial to start. I pressed the Foreign Office to act and help the family. Joe’s family have been tireless in trying to find out what happened and seeking justice.

But without the support of Northumbria police and Sunderland coroner Derek Winter, there would not even be a trial.

The pain of losing a loved one in such circumstances is unimaginable. I hope that the trial can conclude and that it brings some comfort to the family so they can grieve properly for Joe.

The Echo’s Justice for Joe campaign has drawn attention to the family’s struggle and put pressure on the Foreign Office.

This shows just how important our local newspapers can be.

THE images emerging from Syria of slaughtered children are haunting.

The Government has rightly taken a tough line against Syria and recently expelled Syrian diplomats from the UK. Those who are responsible must be held to account.

There have been too many occasions where the international community has stood back and slaughter has continued.

We cannot allow Syria to be another such case.