Letters, Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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Drivers are urged to stand up for rights

THE last Government backed down after 1.8million people signed a petition against road pricing.

 Although the current Government assures us that our existing major routes will not be privatised or tolled short-term, it did accept the Cook Report proposing that they be run by a company with the commercial freedom to ‘sweat’ assets.

 It now proposes to set up the Highways Agency as such a state-owned company.

 To hold it to account for the driving public, it is interesting that the Government sees as possibilities a railways body or its own motoring forum – which, curiously, represents groups that make money out of drivers, such as insurance companies.

 Some of its appointees have actually lobbied the Government to bring in road pricing as a means of making money out of drivers, and one has even supported workplace parking charges and opposed reducing fuel taxes.

 Drivers already pay a massive £50billion, or thereabouts, a year in taxes.

 Enough is enough.

 Proper safeguards are needed against an important loophole.

 I urge readers to respond to the consultation by December 20, making it clear that any new company should not have the power to lease off our roads to road tolling interests.

 Please write to: Roads Reform Consultation, DFT Zone 3/23, London SW1P 4DR or email Roads.Reform@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Brian Macdowall,

campaign director,

Alliance of British Drivers

Library services are overstretched

SINCE the decision to close some libraries throughout the city, and reduce the opening hours of those that escaped the chop, Fulwell ward councillors have had many complaints about the consequences of reduced opening hours.

 The main thrust of complaints centre upon the overspill of people from areas that now have no library and are now using the facilities of Fulwell Library, which in turn has led to these provisions being overstretched.

 In particular, the continued lack of positive action by the Library Service, probably due to bureaucratic reasons, in getting a centralised computer system in place, together with the installation of new computers.

 Library users have lodged complaints over the past year without any improvements being provided, although promises to rectify the situation have been made time and time again.

 Fulwell ward councillors have passed on these criticisms to the Library Service, which are being studied we are told.

 An obvious way to alleviate the situation would be to re-examine the opening hours and increase them to say 24, which is still down from the original 35.

 If agreed to, it would provide a better and more used service, which the general public would appreciate and want.

Coun George Howe, Coun Bob Francis, Coun John Wiper,

Fulwell ward

We need magician

EDWIN Robinson often writes to the Letters page to tell us he is an amateur magician, and how he wishes we had a magic shop in Sunderland.

 Here’s my advice.

 Take a walk to any of the rundown, derelict shop fronts around the city centre, wave your magic wand, say Abracadabra a few times then, hey presto, you’ll magic yourself just the kind of shop you want.

 Then go to Holmeside and repeat this several times to create a lot of small boutiques.

 Somebody needs to do something about the rundown areas of the city. A magician might just do the trick. Afterwards, you can come and turn me into a handsome prince. My wife Marion is fed up of being married to a frog.

William Crane,

Oxclose

Remember Cyprus

I WAS in Egypt when Nasa nationalised the Suez Canal in 1956.

 We were sent to Cyprus and I was there for two years. In that time 371 lads were killed by Eoka terrorists. Most of them are buried in Kyrenia Cemetery.

 It’s very rare that they get a mention.

Mr A P Hossack,

Town End Farm