Letter: The strong pound

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The Independent Online
HAMISH McRAE may relax and enjoy the high pound when he travels abroad (Comment, 1 April), but I would guess that he also likes high interest rates because he is, as I am, a saver and not a borrower.

High interest rates keep inflation down by discouraging borrowing, but the people they discourage most are business people who calculate the cost of credit. For retail customers the costs of credit are often disguised in the price, and people are more easily tempted to buy if they do not have to pay anything at the time.

We will never get interest rates down to continental levels if we don't get consumer borrowing down. So why not make retailers spell out the cost of credit and/or set a legal minimum downpayment? There would be an outcry from the trade and from finance companies - but are they really more worth courting than export industries?

H B WIENER

London NW11

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