Letters, Wednesday, March 19, 2014

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We need a debate on state of city

WHEN comparing the recent performance record of our near neighbours Gateshead against what happens in our city, I am left shaking my head in shame.

 Our city is under-invested in and looking shabby. Gateshead knocked their town centre down and rebuilt it in record time.

 We knocked our housing down and have been left with green fields and a lack of affordable housing while Gateshead develops a range of housing options, including getting Ikea to build the first affordable blokok houses. Sunderland turned down a housing finance option to build social housing for those who can’t afford a mortgage. It would have meant cheaper rents than the private sector and with the added benefit of cheaper fuel costs due to the house design.

 Gateshead got the Millennium Bridge built and opened its quayside up to the Newcastle tourist trade and added the Sage, The Baltic and St Mary’s heritage centre as places to visit. Sunderland can’t even get a bridge built – never mind the other required services.

 These are just a few key examples of how one Labour council acts in an innovative way while ours acts in the times when Get Carter was still popular.

 Is there a lesson to be learned from Gateshead?

 I challenge Sunderland Council to a public debate on these matters and decide whether it can come up to the standards of our near neighbour – Gateshead Borough Council.

George Craig

No to intergration

IN his spring conference speech, Nick Clegg will reiterate his love affair with the EU.

 He will claim that withdrawal will be against UK interests. Indeed, he equates that we will be pulling up the drawbridge and isolating Britain from the rest of the world.

 The world is a global market, a world that is open to business, and one which this country has and is rapidly expanding trade with.

 The EU is constantly introducing regulations and do’s and don’ts that are stifling British business.

 The danger is, and has always been, the creation of a Federal Super State of Europe – a Europe that will be crippled with bureaucratic interference.

 By all means, let us trade with Europe, a policy for which the country voted for in the first place, but not total integration.

 Europe has become a haven for failed politicians, backed up by countless civil servants all of whom are in well-paid, comfortable positions.

 In truth, the EU has become a monster that dictates how many migrants are allowed to enter this country. Mr Clegg ignores the fact that we cannot sustain the huge drain and pressure upon services that unregulated entrance to our country imposes.

 The Conservative-led Government has promised that if it wins the next General Election, it will hold an in/out referendum.

 The Labour Party says it will not. The Lib/Dems have said they will not. A statement that can only mean one thing – they will join with Labour in a coalition government that will reduce this country to its knees.

 It’s something which this country cannot afford.

Coun George Howe,

Fulwell Ward