Letters, Tuesday, January 28, 2014

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Mrs Thatcher took interest in our city

THERE seems to be some doubt cast on the role of Margaret Thatcher in the successful bid by Wearside for the Nissan plant, and her feelings for the city in general.

 It is worth remembering that, as leader of the oppositon, and at a time of rising unemployment in Sunderland, she was prepared to meet a cross-party delegation from the borough, whereas the Labour Prime Minister, Jim Callaghan, refused.

 Following this, she took an active interest in Sunderland, and in its shipbuilding, visiting Wearside on various occasions.

 She was aware of the decline in the industry, and the lack of orders, and it is my belief that she wished to see some compensation for the impending closures.

 I was not involved in the Nissan negotiations, but, as a Conservative councillor, I was asked to lobby Mrs Thatcher whenever I could.

 I did this as often as possible, and, some little while before the decision to locate was made, I clearly remember her telling me I had no cause to worry.

 When I reported this to Sunderland’s then chief executive Geoffrey Key, he would not believe me, as, like many others, he felt that the decision would be in favour of North Wales, which had just lost its steelworks.

 We can be grateful to Mrs Thatcher for her sterling work in bringing a thriving industry to Britain, which, with its suppliers provides so much employment on Wearside.

 As for the man she defeated, Jim Callaghan: He switched the site of the Royal Mint from Washington to South Wales, near his own constituency.

 So much for Labour’s devotion to the region and its workers.

Tim Brown

No way to save

SUNDERLAND City Council needs to save £70million over two years.

 Of course, the first thing it does is press for a combined authority – an extra layer of bureaucracy to be paid for by Council Tax. A possible new headquarters, more councillors, more expenses – the last way to save money.

 It is a North East Assembly, which was voted against in 2004, but by another name.

 Grindon Young People’s Centre says it may close due to lack of funding. We all know young people need activities, and the council should ensure it does not close.

Majorie Matthews

Tariff nightmare

IF you live in a street along with another 100 houses, there is a possibility that every home will be with a different energy provider and on different rates.

 The top six energy providers offer hundreds of different rates.

 You can save money if you buy energy online. You can save money if you change tariffs. You can save money if you pay by direct debit. You can save money if you take out a fixed rate. You can save money if you change supplier. You can save money if you take out a longer contract. You can save money if you collectively switch. So what is the real cost of energy?

 When is this Government (or any government) going to stop this nightmare of a financial jungle in the name of competitive pricing and see everyone pay the same rates?

 After all, we all use the same gas and electricity. It is only the amount that we use that differs.

Miss T Ryman,

Hastings Hill