Letters, Monday, December 16, 2013

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It’s time someone else got a chance

GILLIAN Gilbraith (Echo Letters, December 10), implies much of our city’s demise is down to apathy and Government cuts.

 I’m afraid it’s far too easy to blame the Coalition’s austerity measures, after all, Gateshead and Newcastle have faced the same financial restraints, but look at what’s happened up the road.

 Hundreds of millions of pounds have transformed their shopping centres and the surrounding areas of both places, while we have the Bridges, and then what?

 Labour has ruled in Sunderland for decades, and a once bustling town has been transformed into the mess we have now.

 There was no noticeable improvement under the last Labour Government, therefore, the problem must lie with the quality of local politicians whose primary focus seems to be on getting re-elected.

 Surely, the time has come for someone else to be given the chance to make Sunderland a better place, I can’t imagine they could really do any worse?

M Brown,


‘A smack in the face of taxpayers’

I NOTE with some interest, and I have to say, despair, of the news that the Labour council has approved a 50 per cent increase in allowances for the Deputy Mayor, giving him an extra £1,900 per year.

 At a time of austerity, job reductions, pay freezes, library closures etc, why can’t the Deputy Mayor show some restraint and common sense? This is a smack in the face for the taxpayers of Sunderland.

 I also wonder why the remuneration panel chose to look at the allowance at this time. They don’t just pick posts at random to review. They must have been asked to review the allowance? If so, by whom?

 The Deputy Mayor is no stranger to the operations of the council and must have been aware of the allowance when he accepted the role.

 It must also be remembered that this is not all the Deputy Mayor gets in allowances. There is also the basic councillor’s allowance of £8,369.

 As for the so-called justification for the increase of having to pay for a pint, a glass of wine or some raffle tickets, I’m sure most people will think ‘so what, join the real world’.

 The Deputy Mayor will now be able to buy a few pints and glasses of wine with the extra £36 per week he will receive. Self-control and restraint are required in public office, but are sadly lacking here.

Keith O’Brien,

Middle Herrington.

Helping homeless kids at Christmas

LIKE so many of your readers, I can’t wait for Christmas.

 As an architect, I know just how important it is for every family to have a place to call home, especially at this time of year. That’s why it’s so heart-breaking to know that in the North East alone, more than 160 children will face the reality of waking up homeless on Christmas morning this year.

 They are among the nearly 85,000 children across the country who face spending Christmas in temporary accommodation. Many will be cramped into one room of a bed and breakfast with their entire family, eating dinner sat on the floor or sharing a bed with their parents.

 Shelter’s helpline is already seeing a rise in callers from the North East struggling to keep a roof over their heads, and the charity is expecting this Christmas to be its busiest yet.

 Thankfully, there is a simple way each of us can help to make sure that anyone facing Christmas without a home this year gets the proper advice and support that they need.

 Marks & Spencer is making a donation to Shelter’s helpline for every item sold from its Christmas Food on the Move range.

 That means that something as simple as a turkey sandwich can help people facing homelessness this December.

 I hope that everyone will remember this simple way to help give a family in need a merrier Christmas. Thank you.

George Clarke.