Letters to the editor for 24 May 2013

HS2 and London

[Re: Wake up call for the Department for Transport: Do the proper sums on HS2, Wednesday]

It still amazes me that people think there is a better case for a new railway outside London, than one going to it. Given that 70 per cent of rail journeys begin and end in the capital, suburban rail investment should be prioritised ahead of HS2 and much else besides. Also, recent World Bank research into high speed rail in Asia suggests that a minimum of 20m passengers per annum are required for high speed services to be viable. It is possible that 20m might be willing to travel from the North down to London, but such a critical mass could be difficult to sustain.

Nick Woodland

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Inflation risks

[Re: Carney could rescue UK monetary policy but with more stimulus, yesterday]

Patrick Minford is absolutely right to warn about the unprecedented expansion in the monetary base – it’s eight times the size it was in 2007. But I fear he’s over-optimistic on Britain’s inflation prospects. April’s fall does not change the important issues that mean it will stay persistently above the 2 per cent target. First, if the world economy picks up (as the Bank of England assumes), we’ll likely see a price surge, as we did in 2003-4, 2006-7 and 2010. Secondly, we can’t be certain that we’ve not seen the full effects of the recent devaluation in sterling. It’s likely that imported inflation hasn’t yet been passed through to consumers.

Michael Lynn

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BEST OF TWITTER

If stock markets fall when the Fed talks about halting QE, imagine what will happen if it actually does so and starts to raise rates!
@asentance

Japan’s Shinzo Abe can’t win. First he’s blamed for rising stock prices, now he’s blamed for falling ones.
@Frances_Coppola

British people are united across different faiths, different backgrounds in their horror of crimes like this. This is why terror will lose.
@Ed_Miliband

The Treasury raises £1.3bn extra from income tax in the first month of 45p rate. It’s the Laffer curve in action.
@RyanCPS