Letters, January 31, 2013

Have your say

In it together – I don’t think so

READING the letter, “Must stop crisis”, January 24, I was filled with a growing sense of disbelief and anger.

 The first two paragraphs set the tone: “The £5 council tax charge for people on benefits is only equivalent to a packet of cigarettes.

 “Most of these people have 42/50-inch plasma flat screen or 3D TVs and how have they managed to buy these and pay for a Sky subscription?”

 How does Ken Smith know these people have these TVs or smoke? Or as he states later, spend their money on booze as well? Is he the nation’s biggest peeping Tom, staring through the gaps in people’s curtains or watching the posty to see if he is delivering giros?

 Is it not more a case of, “apocryphal nonsense”, making it up to fit in with his narrow-minded, bigoted views?

 From his letter, it is quite plain that he is one of those, who believe that those on benefits are, “living the life of Reilly”.

 What arrogant nonsense. Benefits for the vast minority are a “pittance”.

 He has fallen for the trick played by the media that shows a few outlandish benefit claims and frauds, and then generalise these to tar everyone else on benefits.

 The insane Tory claim that benefits have risen faster than wages, is being used by them to justify benefit rise limits of one per cent, forgetting, conveniently, the pathetically low starting point of benefits. Rather than attacking benefit claimants, they should be attacking businesses that have used the so-called deficit crisis, and economic problems to justify paying slave wages to workers.

 They will not, however, because they are using the same excuses to put the “boot” into all workers.

 Give workers the same playing field as the banking executives, who are still carrying on as usual.

 Give us the same credence you give to executives in general. Be as robust and pro-active with the wealthy tax avoiders and evaders as you are with the minority who are benefit fraudsters, who rip-off a lot less than the wealthy, parasitical scroungers.

 Stop using the gutter phrases such as “skivers and strivers” or “workers and shirkers”.

 And stop putting one set of workers against another to deflect blame from your own ineptitude and the nature of capitalism, which is the direct and undeniable cause of the problems we, as workers are suffering.  

 All in it together? I think not. Rising sales of luxury cars, houses, objet d’art, along with a rising stock market is due to the fact that the wealthy still have billions to invest – all for their own good.

Steve Colborn


We need shops

WHEN will anyone from the council admit that the regeneration of Sunniside was a complete waste of time and money.

 The only people who made anything out of it were the contractors and builders.

 I am the first to admit that it looks nice but where are the crowds of people that were expected every weekend?

 Newcastle of course, the city of culture and the party capital of the region.

 I don’t want it to be like that but, unfortunately, it is and the authorities can bleat on and on about what a success it could be but the fact is this venture has failed.

 I predicted this before the first brick was laid and have been proved right once again.

 There are enough bars and restaurants in Sunderland, the fact is we need more quality shops and I don’t mean pound shops. This type of outlet should be confined to neighbourhood estates.

 Why can’t they open a Five Hundred Pound Shop – at least I would be a visitor.

 What the city should do is build another Palmers Arcade and attract something like another Liverpool House.

 At the moment there is only a handful of decent shops in Sunderland. If it wasn’t for Debenhams, Marks and Spencers and a couple of others the place would be a ghost town.

 Most people only visit the city centre as a “quick fix”.

  Unfortunately, it’s a dreadful place and will not improve until we can attract decent stores to the area.

Mick The Pen Brown

Vanishing office

BRING back our Tourist Information Bureau.

 How can you encourage tourists if you have a poor tourist bureau?

 The latest downsize in the library means it is almost non-existent. There is hardly any information and where are the lovely staff that were a great help?

M Mitchinson,

St Aiden’s Avenue,


Lovely surprise

I WOULD like to thank Pauline, Shaun, Graham, Teresa, Tia, family and friends for helping me enjoy a fabulous 80th birthday and for the many surprises they sprang on me.

 Thank you, thank you.

John Elliott,

Washington Road,

Hylton Castle