Rapid responses

Banking union

[Re: European banking union will be no friend of vibrant financial services, Thursday]

If Europe’s banks are going to be regulated under one umbrella, the financial sectors of smaller countries will likely find themselves stifled. The inclination for a European regulator will be to impose the level of regulation that is already in place in the most regulated – often largest – EU countries. European regulations have already had the same effect on business more broadly. Big business likes the EU because restricted markets prevent smaller firms from challenging their dominance. And so the sooner Britain is out of the EU, the happier I will be.

Helena Piggott


British retail

[Re: As more Christmas shoppers chose to buy online, can the British high street survive?, yesterday]

There’s no such thing as the British high street. As anyone will tell you, smaller independent shops either struggle to cling on to decaying residential areas or thrive in gentrified and prosperous parts of the country. Otherwise, most people either shop online or go to large complexes like Westfields. But there doesn’t need to be some artificial division between online and instore. Some firms are already adapting. It’s interesting to note that Argos is radically changing its retail experience by getting rid of physical catalogues in its shops, and using web-based panels instead.

Matthew Richards


Top tweets

I see Nick Clegg is in desperado mode, trying to win back votes. His reckless promises before the election couldn’t be met.

Nick Clegg is right to repeat his support for ending universal benefits for wealthy pensioners. They’re hard to justify.

Stripping benefits from better off pensioners disincentivises saving for future. More means-testing means less self reliance.

Economic irony: US banks are calling for Basel III relaxation, when their own regulators are penalising foreign banks.