Letter: Microsoft's role

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Microsoft employs 22,000 and General Electric 276,000, so who is really the most important to the economy and to the communities they operate in ("Microsoft topples GE as king of the market", Business, 17 September)?

In the UK we have allowed industries employing many people, for example coal and steel, to decline because they do not appear to be as financially sound on paper as, for instance, a city firm, employing few but generating profit. However, entire communities were supported by the former and large tax revenues raised.

Perhaps we need a fiscal tool such as a subsidy to firms based on their number of employees to make up for this, and Government policies encouraging full employment as well as financial growth. It would act as a check against simple downsizing which, although assisting the market value of a company, does not help the economy as a whole.

BOB GOODALL

St Albans, Hertfordshire

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