Letters, Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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Are foxes guarding the hen house?

I READ an article in the Echo the other day which particularly annoyed me. It was about the council looking into the topics which particularly concerned people, such as alcohol sales and childhood obesity.

 While these are undoubtedly important issues, I have to ask myself: are our esteemed councillors living on the same planet as the rest of us?

 Look at the paper on any night of the week and you can hardly fail to see that hundreds of Wearsiders are outraged by the cavalier way taxpayers’ money is wasted by this council in so many ways, such as the white elephant bridge, the cannonball pods and the Vaux site, to name only three recent examples.

 There are a lot of places to hide mistakes within a £230million budget. What we really want scrutinised are the executive decisions this council makes with its finances.

 There is a lamentable lack of accountability and responsibility, possibly because the people chosen to scrutinise this council are themselves.

 The so-called Scrutiny Committee is made up of, guess who? More of our esteemed councillors, who decide if their own policies are sound.

 And they get paid for this – their chairman pockets a healthy £12,556 a year for the privilege.

 Why does a picture come to my mind of foxes being asked to guard the hen house? Where is the independence in the system?

 Has anyone ever, in the history of the council, been sacked for making a bad decision? We want to know.

M Crosby,

East Herrington.

Council not to blame for seagull droppings

THOMAS Wright (Echo Letters, July 17) was critical of the council for some of the eyesores around Sunderland. He complains of empty shop fronts, and weeds and bushes growing on the buildings in Fawcett Street.

 The short answer to this matter is these shops are private properties, and as such, it is the responsibility of the proprietors to maintain standards – not the council.

 Empty shops can be seen in every town centre since the Government increased VAT against the advice of financial experts.

 Mr Wright went on to tell us about bird droppings splattered all over the walkway and windows of the Winter Gardens.  

 Well, Sunderland is a seaside city where seagulls are quite common. Bearing in mind the council has no control over the seagulls’ bowels and because they are a protected species, they cannot be exterminated. It’s virtually impossible to stop those droppings falling from a great height and splattering whatever they land on.

 I’m sure the council are doing the best they can, however the lack of manpower (caused by Government cuts) could be a problem.

 The solution could be to place the leftover takeaways out of sight in the litter bins provided, and then the seagulls might fly away to their natural environment along the Roker and Seaburn coastline.

W Quinn,

Sunderland.

Trueman out of touch with working people

IN the Echo report “Benefits cap gets mixed reaction” (July 17) the deputy council leader, Coun Trueman, said the capping of benefits at a maximum of £500 is “ridiculous” and the “poor and most vulnerable are being affected”.

 Well, how many working people in Sunderland take home £500 a week? That’s £26,000 a year. The equivalent of a salary of £35,000 pa.

 I wonder what working people in Sunderland on salaries of £35,000 or less thinks about Councillor Trueman’s comments?

 It seems to me he is as far removed from ordinary working people on this as the Labour opposition in Parliament.

Alan Wright,

High Barnes