Letters to the editor

Readers of City A.M.
Spending restraint

[Re: Austerity can’t have hurt UK growth because austerity hasn’t yet begun, yesterday]

I’m surprised that commentators continue to suggest that austerity is a policy, not an outcome. It is the latter. No sane leader would wish to impose austerity on his or her people. But, as in the immediate aftermath of the second world war, sometimes macroeconomic reality dictates that there has to be restraint. Of course, a combination of spending cuts and tax rises can cause widespread hardship - increased unemployment, reduced family purchasing power, and low or even negative growth. But, as in the post-war period, the final outcome will be positive.

Paddy Briggs


Full steam ahead

[Re: HS2 cost-benefit is a worrying mix of naive projections, yesterday]

I’m sure Matthew Sinclair is right on HS2’s cost-benefit. Although the price-tag of £1,000 or so per taxpayer will be spread over many years, I can’t believe the Department for Transport has got its projections right for a change. But what is the alternative? I’m sure someone will say something about freeing the private sector to invest and build where it pleases, but that’s not going to happen. First, business confidence is too low. And second, so many homeowners feel they must protect the value of their properties against development. It’ll take more than a few rule changes to change those perceptions.

Richard Martin



With the Eurozone crisis on hold, US worrying less about debt ceiling, and China’s economy bouncing back, the UK’s problems stand out.

Worryingly, 62 per cent of consumers plan to trim retail spending over next six months. In December the figure was 59 per cent.

Sugar tax. So I suppose the three remaining soft drinks with natural sugar will soon replace it with artificial sweeteners.

Although the consumption of added sugar drinks has fallen by 9 per cent in ten years, obesity has increased by 15 per cent.