Letters to the editor - 01/08 - Planning laws, volunteering, Best of Twitter

Planning laws

[Re: How hidden taxes and levies are pushing up UK house prices, Monday]

This piece is completely correct. But one problem with recent reforms to planning law is that many Tory MPs support coalition policy in Westminster (which is to make building easier), but then ferociously oppose virtually all plans to build locally because they are terrified of Nimbyism. These well-organised groups seem to believe that any change in the built environment in their local area represents the end of civilisation. They don’t seem to realise that, while green space is nice, homes for people are more important.

Alex Prince

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Volunteering

[Re: Why UK charities rarely benefit from the rise in corporate volunteering, yesterday]

Unfortunately, the same bias towards creating something physical (a school hut, a water well) through manual charity work is also present in the aid sector. Research by Abhijit V Banerjee and Esther Duflo shows that charities, development organisations and governments often focus on schemes that result in shiny new buildings. This is to the detriment of projects with less immediate tangible benefits (the provision of de-worming tablets, proper training of teachers), but which may have greater benefits in the long term.

Caroline Bassett

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BEST OF TWITTER

Forward guidance is pretty useless when economic forecasts from the Bank of England are so poor.
@GraemeLeachEcon

More than 2m hydraulic fractures in the last 63 years. Zero cases of groundwater contamination. @mjhsinclair

Any taxes imposed on companies are actually paid by workers, consumers, and shareholders.
@CatoInstitute

An extended period of low rates distorts economy, and causes future problems.
@rosaltmann
@CatoInstitute