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An example of cheap journalism.

YOUR article Council under fire for Athens jaunt (12.11.2014) was an example of cheap journalism and rank hypocrisy by Coun Anita Lower, the leader of the Lib Dems on Newcastle City Council.

A statement the council provided was excluded from the story, depriving your readers of some important facts, so I'd like to make the following points: Newcastle like other cities has some long standing health problems - teenage pregnancy, obesity, smoking, drink and drug addictions which since the 1990s the council, under Labour and the Lib Dems, has tried to address through its membership of the Healthy Cities network.

In applying to become a Healthy City one of the commitments we have to make is to send a councillor and an officer to the annual conference.

This was backed by both parties on the council. Indeed a notice of motion to renew the commitment in February was seconded by none other than Coun Wendy Taylor, deputy leader of the Lib Dems.

Since then Newcastle has also become the co-ordinating city for the UK so attends on behalf of the network of cities.

Her leader Coun Anita Lower says it was "overkill" for Cllr Ann Schofield, the project co-ordinator and the Director of Public Health to attend this event.

I disagree - but if it was overkill, why did Coun Lower attend the annual conference in Norway in 2010 as part of a delegation of seven! The words glass house and stones spring to my mind.

During three intensive days we shared with other European delegates, who are following in Newcastle's footsteps, our experiences in improving health; learned from them; and showed that despite our problems the city is leading the way in helping people lead healthier lives.

With the NHS creaking at the seams, the health of our nation has never been more pressing.

We must encourage people to lead healthier lifestyles. Admittedly it's a slow burn and we need a united effort. I call on Coun Lower to join us and show some real leadership in future.

Deputy Leader, Newcastle City Council, Coun JOYCE McCARTY

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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 21, 2014
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