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What we're entitled to, we claim.

There have been a lot of letters published in Your Shout critical of pensioners getting free off-peak bus travel, as though pensioners keep demanding the earth. So let us get it right.

Are we moaning, boring old farts because we are pensioners? Do we expect everything for nothing? It seems a lot of very much younger people believe that to be the case.

I am one of eight children, the eldest born in 1930, and all kept financially by our parents until they reached work age. My father worked until 65 then got himself a part-time job to supplement his pension to give him and my mother a decent standard of retirement.

Every one of us has worked until retirement, other than the youngest family member who still has a few years' work to go but will fulfil his pre-retirement years with productive employment.

People of our age, pensioners, are the only generation up to now who have paid into the Welfare State system throughout their working lives and as such have a legitimate call on benefits.

The Welfare State, as designed, was to be financed by people paying into the system while they were working, and a limited amount of benefit paid in the event of hardship. As you continued to work you contributed towards paying pensions to people already retired, knowing that you would be looked after in a similar fashion on retirement.

We now have a situation where thousands of younger people have simply opted out of work and live on benefit handouts. Money being paid by workers into the system, designed to look after workers who have fallen on hard times or who are retired, and thousands of these retired people are paying tax, only to be given out to the young idle.

We need to re-examine the fundamental reasons for the Welfare State and establish once again the principle that you must contribute in order to get something back when you are unable to work because of sickness, or genuinely being temporarily unemployed.

So are we just moaners? No, we are just defending our right to have our return from the system we have contributed to for 50 years, without continual whingeing from people who have some way to go to match what we have put into the pot.

J SMITH, Walker, Newcastle.

There's time for repentance

I REFER to the comment made by AR of Gateshead regarding General Pinochet.

Firstly, there is most definitely a Heaven and a Hell. There are many references to Heaven in God's word, the Bible. Jesus refers to Heaven on numerous occasions, in the Old and New Testaments. He also refers to Hell, because it is a real place, a place of torment for all who reject Him.

There is a false idea that we live in a Christian society in a so-called Christian country. What an illusion! We live in a paganistic country with the majority of people who are pagans heading for a Christless eternity. The Bible has the only answer to the problems of this world, and it is never too late to change while there is life in the body, to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as saviour, thus to be saved from the pit of Hell.

There is only one way into Heaven, and Jesus tells you very clearly in the Gospel of John, Chapter 14 v 6 that he is "the way, the truth and the life".

Therefore, no church can save you, only Him. It may be too late for General Pinochet, but not for you. Repent of your sin, accept Jesus Christ as lord and saviour and be baptised.

JNB, Westerhope.

Insult to our intelligence

GORDON Brown never misses an opportunity to squeeze more money out of the taxpayer, and now has jumped on the green bandwagon.

He insults our intelligence when he claims the revenue raised from the recent increase in petrol and air travel will be used to help the environment and transport system. The money will, like most of the revenue raised from road tax, will go into the Treasury pot. Brown will be remembered as the Chancellor who has taken more money from the taxpayers by backdoor stealth than any other in history.

He ignores the fact Britain is only responsible for 20% of the world's carbon emissions, and unless China, India and the USA dramatically change their ways, any savings we make will be a drop in the ocean. Experts estimate that at China's current rate of growth it will in the next 12 months cancel out any savings we achieve.

After nine-plus years of Gordon Brown, the average taxpayer feels like a lemon on Pancake Day ( squeezed dry!

AH DAVIES, North Shields.

Vital time to donate blood

I WOULD like to remind your readers of the importance of giving blood this Christmas.

The National Blood Service is calling for people across the country to give blood, give life this Christmas. Due to a dip in blood donations, blood stocks traditionally fall by 10% at this time of year.

I, for one, know the importance of blood donation. During the birth of my twins earlier this year I lost 40% of my blood and I had to have a seven-pint transfusion. Without those selfless blood donors out there, I simply would not have survived to see my beautiful twins grow up.

I know it's not always front of mind when you are thinking of buying gifts or visiting friends and family over the Christmas period, but if you've never given blood before, please take just take a few minutes out of your busy day to add your details to the register. One donation of blood can save more than one life, and if you are an existing donor remember you can give blood up to three times a year.

Donors can ring the national donor helpline on 0845 7 711711, open 24 hours, or visit www.blood.co.uk to register and find the venues and times for their nearest blood donation session.

GABBY LOGAN, pictured, National Blood Service.

We're doing a decent job

THE letter (Your Shout, December 11) from Jack Foley was interesting. He lives in Kenton Bar but has been appointed ward co-ordinator in Fawdon, apparently.

And already he is slagging off the council, its staff and the ward councillors.

Since the Fawdon public saw off former Labour ward councillors Tony Flynn and Keith Taylor, who were also leader and deputy leader of the council, the Labour vote in the ward has fallen dramatically to 30% while majorities for the Liberal Democrats have increased. So someone must think we're doing a decent job, Mr Foley.

The staff dedicated to cleaning the area have increased in numbers and effectiveness, new street lighting is going in, roads are being resurfaced, traffic-calming measures implemented, council houses improved. There is still much to be done from the Labour legacy of complacency and neglect but people are reporting progress and are kept informed by their local councillors, which never happened before.

Since they were booted out in 2004, nothing has been seen of anyone from Labour in Fawdon. Now they are having to import ward "co-ordinators" from other parts of the city.

Coun DAVID FAULKNER, Fawdon Ward, Newcastle City Council
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 15, 2006
Words:1212
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