Rapid responses

The payday debate

[Re: The poorest will suffer if we ignore the real evidence on payday loans, yesterday]

This is the first honest, data-driven response to the payday loan industry debate I’ve seen. Unfortunately, screaming headlines about sky-high interest rates and vulnerable borrowers have led some to ignore the sad truth that many are far too risky for more staid lenders to touch. This situation would be better addressed by improving the economic prospects of the low paid (by enhancing their productivity, skills and flexibility) than by banning the few sources of finance they have. As Philip Booth says, that would be totally counter-productive. Unfortunately it reflects the broader trend in regulation over the last five years.

Elizabeth Bond


Exceptional London

[Re: Buoyant central London is an economic world of its own, yesterday]

Central London may be booming, but it’s not immune to broader problems. Interest rates are critical. As soon as they shoot up again, domestic mortgages will hit the wall and foreign investors will be less interested. London, as much as the rest of the country, is buoyed by unsustainable policy decisions.

Mark Perkins

According to the latest census, there are over 8m people in London. So the prosperous 1.7m in the centre really doesn’t represent the City. Perhaps food for thought for those who want London to pay even more than its fair share?

Richard Brown



In London, only 45 per cent are now white British. It’s now truly a world city and largely comfortable with that.

There’s nothing too surprising in the census, but huge differences are emerging between London and the rest of the UK.

The census shows the importance of improving education. Only 22 per cent in the north east have qualifications above A-Level.

It may be the biggest fine yet, but $1.9bn (£1.2bn) is just 1 per cent of HSBC’s total market value of $190bn.