Letters, Friday, August 12th, 2011

Have your say

It’s time to bring tax cut forward

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with Bridget Philipson MP that we need to put money back in people’s pockets to get the economy moving (Wednesday Column, Echo, August 3). However, I must disagree with her conclusion that a temporary VAT cut would be the best way to achieve this.

A temporary VAT cut (and then an inevitable rise at some point in the future) would mean lots of disruption for retailers who’ve already had to implement three changes in VAT in the last few years.

Quite apart from that, a VAT cut would mean putting lots of money back in the pockets of the very richest – the bankers and speculators who can afford to spend the most on items that attract VAT. A strange priority for a Labour politician.

Surely a better solution would be to bring forward the existing plans to raise the tax threshold so that no one pays tax on the first £10,000 they earn.

This income tax cut – secured by the Lib Dems as part of the Coalition agreement – has already begun to be implemented and should be in place by the end of the Parliament anyway. But as Ms Phillipson recognises, we need action now. Bringing this fair tax cut forward would mean putting more cash in the pockets of hard-working Wearside families – not those who can already afford luxury items.

I hope common sense prevails and all three parties unite behind this fair and sensible course of action.

Brian Robson, Ewesley Road, Sunderland

Business rates

WHAT a pity MP Sharon Hodgson passed up on the opportunity to clarify her comments about Sunderland losing out on business rates income (Letters, August 1).

Coun Robert Oliver had challenged her incorrect and scaremongering claim that Sunderland would lose millions in income under the Government’s changes to the business rate system.

As pointed out by Coun Oliver this claim has been disproved, but instead of trying to substantiate her claim Sharon Hodgson went off on a tangent, accusing him of attacking comments on the economy.

Not once did Coun Oliver mention the economy in his letter of July 23. However, I’m sure he would be happy to discuss this topic after Coun Charlton’s recent glowing report on the improving economic situation in Sunderland.

If Mrs Hodgson wants to try again to respond to the real content of his letter, I would repeat Coun Oliver’s comments as follows: “As anyone taking a walk down Holmeside past the rows of boarded-up shops will know, the revival of private sector investment in Sunderland cannot come soon enough.

“Fortunately, new proposals to encourage business in the city, such as the retention of business rates, are on offer and need to be supported to aid our flagging retail sector.

“Unfortunately, local representatives Councillor Paul Watson and Sharon Hodgson MP have been scaremongering rather than seizing on an incentive to encourage more business and benefit from the increase in business rates”.

Bob Francis, Conservative councillor, Fulwell Ward

Waste of money

WHEN commenting on the looting and burning in London and other cities, the editor of the Echo informed readers that the impact of financial austerity has added to deep-routed problems on estates and neighbourhoods up and down the country.

He claimed that ‘there was a danger of a generation of disengaged, detached youths being forgotten as regeneration projects came to a juddering halt’ (Echo, August 9).

Given that billions of pounds have been thrown at so-called deprived estates up and down the country, going back for more years than I care to remember, would the editor tell those of us who are paying for it all when can we expect a return on our massive investment?

If the scenes of mayhem and total disregard for others witnessed in London and other major cities over the past few days is any guide, it would appear that that our investment has been a complete waste of scarce resources.

Those people who took to the streets to loot and burn were adequately described as feral rats by a lady who had her small shop destroyed.

Feral rats is what are and feral rats is what they always will be.

Ron Metcalfe

Thanks to staff

I WOULD like to thank all the staff at Ward C36 of Sunderland Royal Hospital. I was recently admitted to this ward and the care and attention I received was exceptional. I was looked after by such a caring and dedicated team.

I often hear of complaints of our NHS but the conditions, food and staff were excellent. Definitely no complaints from me.

A big thank-you to all. Your efforts are appreciated.

W. Young, Badger Close, Hall Farm Estate

I swear I’m sorry

I APOLOGISE to anyone who heard me use rude and offensive language in Mowbray Park.

I was sitting near the John Candlish statue enjoying a box of fish and chips which I’d just purchased from Angels in Derwent Street (the best chippy in town). A seagull saw me enjoying my meal and began to circle me in a threatening manner.

It uttered several loud cries to its mates. A gang of seagulls landed in front of me, eyeing my lunch greedily. It was like a scene from a Hitchcock movie. I recently saw an item on TV about gulls dive-bombing people and stealing their chips, so I decided to scare the birds away. I shouted as loud as I could and they flew off.

Unfortunately, a stream of expletives poured forth from my mouth too. A number of people, particularly those with children, turned and stared.

Two elderly ladies glared at me. Tut, tut, they said, we thought the council got rid of all the winos from this park.

I explained that I’m really a decent chap, only when I was a boy I learned a lot of swear words from my Aunt Mabel’s mynah bird.

They were not amused, and accused me of being facetious.

Mind you, the seagull got its revenge. From up above it dumped its guano right down on top of my head.

It’s a strange sensation. Has it ever happened to you? It feels like the breeze is ruffling your hair, you raise your hand to brush it back and – ugh!

And have you tried washing your hair in the Winter Gardens toilets?

The next seagull I get my hands on, I’ll wring its neck.

So my sincere apologies go to anyone offended by my language. Unless of course you’re one of those idiots who encourage seagulls by feeding them.

Jim Ridler, Hylton Road, Sunderland

Hunt for helpers

I AM wondering if anyone can help me find two good Samaritans who helped my father out on Friday, August 5.

At approximately 11.30pm, in Silksworth Road, Sunderland, adjacent to Doxford Park, my dad was found, we think in the middle of the road, with substantial facial injuries.

We think, although we are not certain, that he had fallen after getting off the number 35 bus, but unfortunately he cannot remember what happened.

We know that a lady telephoned my mother and said that my father had been found injured and she had telephoned for an ambulance.

When my mother and her friend arrived at the scene a gentleman was waiting with the ambulance.

We are desperate to find this lady and gentleman, first of all to thank them for staying with my father and helping him until the ambulance arrived and also to try and piece together what actually happened and if they did indeed see anything.

My father is out of hospital now and doing well.

If anyone can help us, please telephone my mother, Jackie, on 07759 030284.

Andrea Mustard

Legacy of Mrs Thatcher

ALAN Wright’s letter (Echo, August 3) in regards to my previous correspondence on phone hacking included the following sentence: “It is claimed that the mess we find ourselves in with News International is Margaret Thatcher’s fault”.

Coun Wright was wrong to use the word “claimed”, which means I have written something without being able to give proof.

Alan’s devotion to Thatcher and the Tory cause appears to have clouded his mind to the historical evidence that tells us how Thatcher initiated the unholy trinity of police, politicians and Murdoch when she bypassed the Monopolies Committee and allowed Murdoch to purchase The Times and The Sunday Times in the 80s.

The councillor’s loyalty to the dreaded one could also block out the fact that the underbelly of her regressive policies is still having a negative effect on today’s society. For example, a Thatcher Government institutionalised living on the dole throughout our communities. When she closed down British industry in the 80s, included were Wearside shipyards, pits and subsidiaries. She changed the system between benefits and work. Having no new work available gave the nation something it never had for decades. This was people who would never work again and, more seriously, would never be asked to.

Our energy, gas and electricity were public utilities with prices regulated by Government officials. Common sense stated that if it went private the public would be held to ransom. This didn’t stop Thatcher from stealing the energy from the taxpayer and selling it to privateers. In consequence, the sky-high prices we are now experiencing.

While Thatcher was snatching the milk from our children’s lips, she was also making sure her son would want for nothing. In a draft admission she stated there was a conflict of interest over a construction deal she acquired in Oman and payment of millions were made to her son.

This information at the time came from the Guardian and the Freedom of Information Act.

W. Quinn, Duke Street, Millfield,

Our love for Eden Brian

THIS lovely boy was born on New Year’s Day.

Someone must have waved a magic wand.

Named after Great Uncle Eden Johnston

Who was once The Mayor of Sunderland.

Blond curly hair, blue eyes, nice build, fair skin,

He was soon admired by all and sundry

Just add a lovely face and happy nature

Could have won bonny baby contest easily.

In our street not many cars went by

But many stopped to admire our son.

He went to a nursery for a while

He enjoyed it, to him it was all fun.

At school he always seemed happy.

I loved a great school report

“Thoughtful of others, a likeable boy”

He was also a lover of sport.

Got a job delivering newspapers

And bought himself a smart new bike.

He knew to take nothing from the shop

And that work he really used to like.

If I admired a song he would buy the record,

Such was his kindness and thoughtfulness.

A great chess player, he joined a chess club

To county championship level he was assessed.

At 16 he joined the junior army

And had a most adventurous life.

It took him to lots of different countries

It was how me met Linda, his beloved wife.

Linda was CO’s driver in the Army

They married, had nice army houses, no worries,

Were later blessed with two lovely daughters,

Zoe and Gemma, and with beautiful memories.

Majorie Matthews, Sunderland

Sick of moaning Mick

WHEN will the Echo be free from the pronouncements from the “Brown Bomber”? As an ordinary reader of the Echo for over 60 years I’m sick to the back teeth of seeing his moanings about everything to do with Sunderland and its people, and generally we are surviving without his criticisms.

I think his views on the airshow are an act of stupidity, How does he propose to put a charge on this kind of event? The fact that a million or so people came to watch it is proof of its popularity, and if it is true that only 15 arrests were made, it surely proves that “Lead Ed’s” views are wrong.

It must be murder living with him. What the council should do is have a collection for the forces to “Ban Brown”. I’m sure an awful lot of people would donate to such a scheme.

If you read his letters closely, they just give vent to his constant whinging about everything.

It’s coming to the point that I dread picking up my Echo, he’s such a bore.

Regarding the airshow, it was brilliant. The only thing that spoils it is maybe to think that M.T.P. might be there. Ugh!

M. C. Bennett, Sorley Street, Millfield

Ludicrous decision

THINK it is absolutely diabolical and ludricous that Debbie and Kristian Trout cannot get IVF. Like Debbie says, people get boob jobs and tummy tucks on NHS, so why can’t she get IVF?

What about the other partners in this? They want a child of their own. We are in same predicament. I have one and have been denied twice by the primary care trust.

Lyndsey Green