Letters to the editor - 16/08 - Land prices, A-levels, Best of Twitter

Land prices

[Re: UK needs to stop deliberately inflating residential land prices, yesterday]

A study on Hong Kong showed that, even in that extreme example, a substantial share of house prices is explained by building restrictions, not a genuine shortage of land. Physical scarcity of land is mostly a theoretical possibility. There are hardly any places in the world where that is a binding constraint yet. And of course, national figures on population density are entirely misleading. If that were a factor, house prices in Australia should be close to zero, but in fact they’re among the highest in the world because Australia operates British-style planning restrictions.

Kristian Niemietz, Institute for Economic Affairs



[Re: It’s time our qualifications system broke free from the A-Level stranglehold, yesterday]

The author is right that the UK’s attitude towards education qualifications needs to change. This year’s A-Level results showed a larger proportion of students taking highly employable subjects such as maths, science and economics. While this is welcome news, we should not let it distract us from the fact that the overall pass rate for A-levels has risen yet again. Moreover, we still have an unsustainable amount of students wishing to take the standard three-year degree, when many may be better off with apprenticeships or other training programmes.

Graham Young



Problems continue to mount for forward guidance as UK 10-year gilt yield rises to 2.7 per cent (2013 high).

Jean Edwards’s £500,000 is enough to pay UK debt interest for 41 seconds.

Excessive use of military force against protesters in Egypt contradicts democracy and human rights.

Foreigners selling US assets in record numbers while Fed balance sheet grows. Recipe for disaster.