Letters, Saturday, September 8, 2012

Have your say

Don’t wait around for your Express 13

I saw the letter from Cameron Marshall regarding his support for the Big Bus campaign.

The reason he won’t get his Express 13 is because the present Number 13 runs to a profit, picking up the passengers that justify the running of the service.

I also believe he is wrong to talk about taxpayers’ money like it is money only paid in Tyne and Wear.

This is money that all bus companies get, be they privately or publicly owned. It is about a rebate of 60 per cent of the duty paid for their fuel. There is no duty on fuel for trains and planes.

The rest is the Government-mandated reimbursement for concessionary fares that the bus companies must offer by law. None of this, nor the rebate, is paid from the budget of Nexus.

We in Sunderland will see no difference in service. The costs of the socially-needed buses will still have to be absorbed by the Integrated Transport Authority (ITA).

Where two or more companies compete on the same route, there will be job losses. All the services that are provided by the bus companies, such as timetabling, garages and depots, will have to be absorbed on to the taxpayer.

At the moment, all of this risk lies with the private companies. The irony of this is that the powers exist to allow Nexus to get what it wants for a fraction of the cost through partnership agreements that were put in place in the last public transport act.

We will not get London levels of services on our buses because no government has given any body outside of London the subsidy required to run it.

Bridget Phillipson should know this, as the present funding patterns, although differing in amounts, were put in place by her party when last in office.

Funny I didn’t see this in her manifesto and can only assume if Labour had won the last election, it would not have given the ITA the powers they are now seeking.

Shaun Cudworth

We are all one

Regarding “Million pound melting pot” (Echo, September 4), we all must give three hearty cheers to the National Lottery for funding the black and minority ethnic communities in Sunderland to the tune of £1million.

While it is hugely gratifying to see some of our lottery money spent locally, it is equally perplexing to note that the benefit is limited to the ethnic minority groups in Sunderland.

Fuel poverty or indeed any other kind of poverty knows no ethnic boundaries.

In UK today, the notion that people are not defined by ethnicity has been fought for and well-earned.

There is a huge raft of laws, more zealously regarded than almost any others, to ensure that ethnic minorities are treated equally and in UK we can be proud of our performance in this regard.

Indeed now the the worm has turned. Ethnicity seems to trump all in any dispute. Yashmaks 
are OK crosses on chains are banned.

So if we really want a fair and integrated community we can not favour groups on the basis of their ethnicity on the one hand and allow them universal benefits on the other.

Either we are all members of the same community or we are not.

Denis Gillon


You’ve got it easy

One or two students have taken umbrage with my recent letter in which I stated that it was much easier to pass exams in this era than it was all those years ago when I was at school.

Apparently the youth of today thought that I was particularly harsh in my assessment. Therefore, I will explain my views.

The students of today have it handed to them on a plate.

They own laptops, smartphones and iPads. At the touch of a button they have access to knowledge in an instant.

Even when they turn on the TV they can tune into the History or Geography channel on Sky.

This gives them a tremendous advantage which they cannot deny.

In my day what a difference it was. All we got was a book and a ruler nothing else.

If we failed our exams, that was it. We would receive a sound thrashing and were doomed for the harsh realities of life working down the pit or the shipyards.

These young ones have it easy and I am not bitter about the life they live, but they don’t know hardship.

I was fortunate enough to be upper class and my nanny gave me a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica, a huge book that I would read under the covers in the dormitory.

I refused to share it with the other boarders, hence it gave me a head start. Perhaps that is why I have a high IQ.

I believe that you can still download it online and while I wish today’s students well, they don’t know they are born with all this technology.

Mick The Pen Brown

Confused of Barnes

So, Councillor Oliver, are you complaining about the £1.5million spent on litigation by the council or those disgraceful women daring to ask for equality?

Your hypocrisy shines as your letter clearly condemns the council and women asking for equality – unless I’ve misread your letter and you are praising the union for taking up the fight for these ladies. Or are you praising the council for standing up against those wretched women?

Ged Taylor


Who was Charlie?

People of my age can remember “Charlie Chuck” who played the tin whistle in Sunderland, but what was his correct name. Where did he live and what happened to him? Does anyone out there remember?

Stan Taylor