Letter: The personal price that must be paid for the pursuit of zero inflation

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The Independent Online
Sir: Do they know, Norman Lamont and John Major, what they have just done? Do they know what the consequence of Government mismanagement followed by arrogance and pride will do to the ordinary people of Luton, Bedfordshire?

Thousands who have been struggling to pay mortgages already in arrears will sink under the pressure and have their homes repossessed. Families from all manner of backgrounds (some once Conservative party voters) will be homeless because the local authority housing stocks, depleted by years of sales and cash starvation, do not have property for rehousing. The Luton branch of HM Customs and Excise will find it even easier to bankrupt the 500 locals it is looking to haul through the courts this year. When you are receiving income support because the Government has destroyed the building industry, it is pretty difficult to respond to a statutory demand - be it for pounds 2,000 or pounds 10,000.

I am an insolvency lawyer and vice-chair of our local Citizens' Advice Bureau. Every day, I see bankruptcy referrals from the bureau. Last year it was the building trade. This year, it is small businesses struggling for trade - newsagents, grocers, suppliers of building materials.

Ordinary people who have spent a lifetime earning just enough to keep the family going and, possibly, a little extra for a pension, now find themselves in debt to the bank, trade creditors and the Government - with no hope of ever repaying them.

Pehaps Mr Lamont and Mr Major should come face to face with a specially selected audience of bankrupts and homeless, and tell them what zero inflation and the ERM is going to do for them.

Yours faithfully,

C. A. JOHN

Luton, Bedfordshire

16 September

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