Letters, Friday, June 7, 2013

Have your say

Pods will become white elephants

BEING of a rather curious (some might say nosy) disposition, and a taxpayer, I made a Freedom of Information inquiry to Sunderland Council concerning the cost of the proposed cannonball pods, which are to be placed on the seafront.

 I hadn’t seen a price anywhere and I found this omission to be curious.

 The results of my inquiry stunned me. I quote, “£333,396 is the contractual sum agreed to buy the three Pods from Millimetre.”

 A third of a million pounds for these three “objects”. I just about fell off my chair.

 The council also confirmed that maintenance costs were anticipated and added the immortal words: “The council does not class the pods as an investment asset and will not be using return on investment and cash flow as a success criteria.”

 That added the icing to the cake.

 I, personally, think that these are worthy white elephant successors to the infamous Seaburn fountain. Why should we keep our libraries open when our children can go in the pods instead?

M Crosby

East Herrington

No consideration

SO, after months of negotiation, Sunderland Council decided to land us with The Hoppings.

 I would like to know, apart from Colin Noble, who else the council negotiated with? It was not the people of Penshaw or Herrington.

 There was no consultation or consideration given to us. Could Mr Noble not use one of his car boot sites, ie Seaham cliff top, which would have been ideal, and we, Herrington Park, would have taken the car boot for two weekends, which makes more sense.

 It would have been easy to police and control the traffic and they could have used a Park and Ride, like at football matches. Regarding this being an annual event – I don’t think so. The park was meant for people to go and enjoy walks, and see the wildlife. Everyone I’ve talked to does not want this on their doorstep!

 I hope the councillors who voted for this get thrown out of office at the next elections.

 Remember this is the same Labour Council who stopped the Durham County Show because of cost, in fact, it was just bad management.

 Just think of the cost for policing, waste, litter, and I dare not think about the mess it will be left in.

 I was also surprised to find the Editor of the Sunderland Echo wanting this here. I bet he and all the people involved do not live within five minutes walk from the park.

 I am not a spoil sport, just try using some common sense and consult the people next time.

Name and address supplied

Good to be British

DON’T you just love it when someone publicly disagrees with you – and gets it all wrong?

 As Neil Johnson mentioned on May 22, I do believe that Nigel Farrage and UKIP will, indeed they already have, introduced another dimension into Britain’s beleaguered political system. But when Neil describes UKIP as a rabble rousing group which does not support a minimum wage policy he is misinformed.

 There is not a maligned bone in Nigel’s body. The reverse is true, with his pint in one hand and a ciggy in the other, he is bonhomie personified.

 Vulnerable to sniping yes, but harmful and dangerous to the electorate he is not.

 While complaining about unregulated immigration, Nigel Farrage has frequently insisted that the minimum British wage should be increased to make unskilled work, fruit picking for instance, more attractive to our job seekers. Is that so evil?

 Ridding industry and commerce of The Working Time Directive, which has many harmful aspects, as well as the benefits, which incidentally can be or are already enshrined in British law, would save jobs and tend to increase earnings.

 Quite simply UKIP does not want Britain to be part of an EU superstate governed from Brussels and unable to make its own laws or control its borders

 For the life of me, I cannot see how expressing Britishness in a peaceful and commercially competitive way, is retrograde or not beneficial?

Denis Gillon


A political trap

IN her column, Bridget Phillipson MP continues to campaign on the “tax cut for millionaries” even though her own party taxed them less.

 In fact, during all but one of the years the Labour Party was in government, the highest tax rate was 40p; the 50p rate was introduced only as they left office.

 It was not brought in immediately after the financial crisis to make the rich pay for it but introduced just days before the General Election as a political trap.

 Far from raising revenue, the 50p rate reduced reveune by £6.8million as high earners left the country, worked less hard or used legal tax avoidance methods.

 The Labour Government left these ways of avoiding tax in place and did not stop taxpayers bringing forward income to avoid the new rate.

 So in 2009-10 there were 16,000 people declaring incomes above £1million in the UK for tax which fell to just 6,000 people after the introduction of the 50p rate. Of more interest to the people of Sunderland is a tax rate that affects them in terms of the increase in the personal allowance this year.

 This has lifted 11,963 people out of income tax altogether across Wearside, as the poorest now keep more of their earnings than under the Labour Government.

Councilor Robert Oliver

Leader Conservative

Council Group

Learning for life

LEARNING First, a regional charity was set up in 1994.

 Our remit is to provide high quality educational courses for people with learning difficulties, young people with families and those seeking to acquire skills to help them back into the world of work.

 As the charity develops its provision over the next year, we’re now looking to make our courses more geared to what students and employers want across Newcastle and Sunderland as well as the wider region.

 We think of our students first, and because of that we do really well – doing better than our targets for student learning and in keeping learners on our programmes.

 One of our aims is to help students move towards being part of their communities, both socially and economically, and that learning involves everyone, students, carers, parents, staff and the wider community.

 If anyone is interested in any of our courses, please contact us on 0191 286 0077 or visit our website: www.learningfirst.org.uk

Kevin Graham LL.B (Hons),

Chief Executive,

Learning First

Geranium thief

I HOPE the thief who stole the two pots of geraniums from outside my front door is very proud of themselves.

 To steal from an old lady who took good care of them and enjoyed them and had them there to make the place look good, you must be the lowest of the low.

 I hope your family is proud of you.

J McKinnie,