Letters to the editor for 25 April 2013

TechBacc support

[Re: Firms cheer UK qualification for industry skills, Tuesday]

It was good to read the endorsement of the new TechBacc by Neil Carbury of the Confederation of British Industry in Tuesday’s paper. Including Level Three in maths, a vocational qualification, plus an extended project, it promises to be rigorous and challenging, giving vocational education the high status it deserves. It is for sixth formers and on a par with the A level route. I am convinced that the TechBacc will allow us to compete internationally, and provide our young people with the skills for which our employers are crying out.

Dr Liz Sidwell, Schools Commissioner for England


Debt and growth

[Re: High debt damages economies – and it’s more than just a theory, yesterday]

This row over Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff’s faulty figures is ridiculous (and I can’t believe we’re still discussing it). First, they never claimed that they’d discovered a fundamental theorem that all economists should and must agree with. Secondly, their flawed evidence was never the reason why countries have sought to cut their deficits (not that Britain is doing even that to any meaningful extent). Thirdly, there are countless unarguable reasons why high debt does limit growth. It can crowd out private investment or create the need for higher taxation (which does limit an economy’s ability to expand).

Mike Armitage



Not sure Funding for Lending will work, but something is needed to boost investment. Capex as percentage of GDP lowest since 50s.

Lending to firms is still falling – despite Project Merlin, then credit easing, and so now it’s Funding for Lending 2.0. Hope it works.

Sad news about the Co-Op/Lloyds deal. Seemed to be a real possible competitor to the big banks.

Much to do, but great to hear violent crime is falling faster in the UK than anywhere in Western Europe.