Rapid responses

Urban renewal

[Re: Decline in homeownership is the result of bonkers red tape, yesterday]

Unfortunately, the housing shortage is London is not just an issue of “idiotic planning rules” but a fundamental unwillingness to allow the city to expand physically. The debate has artificially divided into supporters of the green belt and those who want to brick over the south east. Surely there’s an alternative. Cities like Copenhagen show the possibilities – it has green fingers (rather than a belt), which stretch attractively into its centre. People can live in large suburban homes, and the danger of unattractive, faceless exurbia (like you see in Los Angeles) is carefully avoided. Growth doesn’t need to be ugly.

Caroline Morgan


Tax simplicity

I’m afraid tax simplicity won’t happen until the chancellor is unafraid to stand up to special interest groups. It’s the classic problem of government. More people will lose from taking loopholes away than will gain from a simpler, more effective tax system

Richard Bryant

I wish someone would make the case that simpler taxes would help solve the problem of avoidance. Corporations and individuals are able to exploit the system – and to use loopholes in unintended ways – and therefore reduce their tax bills. Complicated anti-avoidance rules will only ever be a sticking plaster.

Brian Poor



Will EU banking union be effective? The City of London’s financial sector is bigger than the rest of Europe’s combined.

Mark Carney is already sending signals he won’t take a different course to that masterminded by Sir Mervyn King.

If North Korea has achieved successful orbit, the greatest concern is it’s a successful pitch for selling illicit missile technology.

Fed policy seems to be: inject stimulus to lower unemployment until serious inflation threatens. By then it will be too late to react.