“Let's put prejudice aside and look at the facts”

This letter sent to the Star was written by Graham Shepherd, Sheffield, S36

Monday, 16th March 2020, 6:57 am
Updated Thursday, 19th March 2020, 12:48 am

It is unbelievable that Steve Bell (letters, March 7), in his eagerness to criticise our council and Veronica Hardstaff in particular, blames Sheffield Council for the downfall of the subsidised public transport system which the council devised and was the envy of the country.

The whole nation, with the exception of Mr Bell, is aware that one person alone was responsible, Margaret Thatcher.

In his desperate attempts to do the council down, Mr Bell has to delve back 29 years and even then put a very slanted version of events surrounding the World Student Games.

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Conservative politician and future Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1925 - 2013) speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Brighton, UK, 21st October 1967. (Photo by Stanley Sherman/Express/Getty Images)

So let's put prejudice aside and look at the facts.

Sheffield saw the Games as a golden opportunity. The city was in need of a boost and Attercliffe in particular was a disaster area. The Games presented itself as a great opportunity to bring wealth and inward cash flow to our area.

To achieve this it was necessary to borrow. As a result we have benefited greatly from the provision of Ponds Forge, Sheffield Arena, Don Valley Stadium, the Lyceum refurbishment plus many other improvements to our infrastructure, in addition to a rise in status as a city.

We are becoming famous for these facilities.

In this capitalist world, entrepreneurs are admired for risk-taking. Sheffield Council took a risk in borrowing on the then reasonable understanding that the Government and television companies would pour millions into the project.

The Liberal Democrats of the day were all in favour too, until things got too hot and they realised they could hide in the shadows and then join the bandwagon of criticism of the council.

Okay. So the council took out a long-term loan.

I did the same when I needed a house.

Many do the same when they can't afford the layout for a car.

New businesses do the same and are admired for their entrepreneurial spirit.

Risk-taking is seen as a virtue comparable to working for a living.

As a consequence of the council borrowing, we are to this day reaping the benefit of our assets which attract thousands of visitors for the sporting and entertainment facilities we have on offer.

It is common these days to see reference to situations which add millions indirectly to the local economy.

No such positive outlook is forthcoming from the dinosaurs who harp back 29 years to find an excuse to criticise those not of their own political persuasion.