Letters, Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Have your say

Vulnerable are not being picked on

THE Labour Party continues its scaremongering about the reduction in benefits for extra rooms in social housing, which it mistakenly calls a “bedroom tax”.

 It is actually an equalisation of benefits between the private and social rental sectors in order to increase social housing provision and reduce cost.

 Leaving spare rooms under-occupied is not good use of social housing at a time when there are 1.8million households on the national housing waiting list.

 The Labour Party has acknowledged this, with Malcolm Wicks MP calling for housing benefit recipients to move into “smaller and cheaper accommodation”.

 Under the measures, the vulnerable are not being picked on with people over the age of the state pension credit exempt and carers protected.

 There is also a £30million fund to assist disabled people and foster carers, and a £155million in discretionary housing payments to support vulnerable claimants.

 Finally, the cost of £20billion a year in housing benefit, which nearly doubled under Labour, needs to be tackled with Liam Byrne MP calling it “too high”.

Councillor Robert Oliver,

Leader of the Conservative Council Group

Plea for climbers

WE are appealing to people to lace up their boots and endure the highest peaks Scotland, England and Wales can offer – in only 24 hours.

 Meningitis UK’s Three Peaks challenge asks participants to climb Ben Nevis (1,344m) in Scotland, Scafell Pike (978m) in Cumbria, and Mount Snowdon (1,085m) in Wales.

 The annual adventure will see people climb 3,000 vertical metres and travel 480 miles between the peaks.

 But it is not all arduous as there are plenty of chances to witness picturesque countryside during the event from May 17 to 19.

 People always feel a huge sense of achievement when they conquer the final peak and know they have helped fight a disease that devastates families and communities.

 Meningitis UK has a single focus – to find a vaccine to wipe out all forms of the disease.

 Meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia continue to affect thousands of people in the UK every year and kill more children under five than any other infectious disease.

 To take part and help us achieve our vision, please contact Emma King on 0117 303 3345 or email emmaking@meningitisUK.org for a sponsorship pack.

Emma King,

Events fund-raiser,

Meningitis UK

Another takeaway

I’M very surprised at Sunderland council’s decision to allow a Subway takeaway to replace a car wash in Blue House Lane,Washington.

 How many more takeaways can open in the Concord area? It is saturated with them.

 A great number of the retail establishments are fast food outlets in Concord. A hot dog stall has even appeared opposite Greggs in the last week or so.

 We will now be getting more junk leaflets through our letterboxes, to go with the other 50 or so we get each week.

John ‘The Pun’ Watson,


Wartime visits

I AM hoping to find my mother’s relations. I visited them in Sunderland at the beginning of the Second World War, when I was about seven years old.

 They lived in a railway house adjacent to the Newcastle to Sunderland railway line, only yards away from an abbatoir and less than 100 yards from a hump bridge.

 My uncle John George and aunt Phoebe Charlton moved to Sunderland in the 1930s. He was employed on the railways as a signalman.

 I also met cousins Ina and Ralphy and Ina’s son Billy, who was a newborn baby, when we first went to Sunderland in 1940. Cousin Ralphy was in a residential home near the coast.

 Aunt Phoebe’s last abode was in Sandringham Road, where I visited her after attending a miners’ meeting at the Empire in 1985.

 I would like to ask any of the Charlton family, which is my mother’s maiden name, living in Sunderland if they would read my article about my visits to Sunderland during the war online – Wartime in Sunderland Francis Frith.

Les May,



Keep coal burning

BRITAIN must keep operating its coal fired and oil fired power stations as long as necessary – no matter what the European Union says.

 The alternative will leave the country at the mercy of the world’s gas suppliers.

 The resulting energy crises will be worse than that of 1974 when we had the three-day week and social unrest, and the Government will suffer badly at the next General Election.

Michael Highton,