IoS letters, emails & online postings (26 December 2010)

Share
Related Topics

The case histories with your timely article about legal loan sharks and impoverished debtors illustrated the stress involved ("High cost of credit sends growing numbers into poverty", 19 December). The Government Office for Science noted in a Foresight report the relationship between debt and mental illness. Welfare claimants are already paying off £3bn a year to the state, because they and government agencies made errors, even before they start suffering the 25 cuts in benefits.

The Zacchaeus 2000 Trust serves vulnerable people in debt. We take cases of stress-related illness from GPs and other parts of the NHS in London, handling every degree of mental health problems from stress to hospitalised depression due to debt.

The NHS estimates that mental illness costs the economy £105bn a year, including days lost at work, but the coalition's White Paper on public health does not include the word "debt" let alone devise a policy to prevent its distressing and expensive consequences for the poor.

Rev Paul Nicolson

Chairman, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust

London SW1

Why cannot an emergency Bill be passed to prohibit anyone – banks, credit card companies, or loan sharks – charging more than a fixed amount (say 3 to 5 per cent) above bank rate? If there are those who say it can't be done, I would remind them that there was strict government control over hire purchase agreements in the post-war years.

Malcolm Morrison

Swindon, Wiltshire

The loss of Gift Aid relief on membership fees at the London Library, which occurred a year ago, is not a sign that the library is about to lose its charitable status (Diary, 19 December). Nor has there been any long-running (or short-running) battle over that status. HM Revenue & Customs decided in November 2009 that we, like many other charities, should not be getting tax relief on subscriptions, because the law says that relief should not be given when payments are being made in return for services. Only "heritage" charities such as the National Trust are given exemptions. Nevertheless, the library still gets Gift Aid relief on all conventional donations. It is the Charities Commission, not the HMRC, which grants or denies charitable status, and it has never questioned the Library's eligibility.

I am pleased to say that membership numbers are rising healthily, and have just passed 7,000.

Bill Emmott

Chairman, The London Library

London SW1

The British Medical Association is very pleased to hear that George Osborne is trying to claw back some of the hundreds of millions of pounds currently spent paying off huge PFI investment projects ("Osborne looks to save hundreds of millions on PFIs", 19 December).

It is interesting to note that a Whitehall source has indicated that it could be difficult to breach existing PFI agreements with contractors. This seems ironic when NHS Employers is planning to break the contracts of thousands of NHS staff and not pay them the increments they are entitled to in order to plug a £1.9bn additional shortfall in the NHS budget.

Rather than continually hammering hard-working public sector staff, the Chancellor should do everything in his power to ensure that PFI contractors shoulder their share of the pain.

Dr Hamish Meldrum

Chairman of council, BMA

London WC1

As a comedian, Dom Joly is prone to exaggerate for comic effect, but to describe security guards at our store as "Nazi-like" is offensive ("I had a spot of bother on the Didcot line", 19 December). Moreover, our requirements for dress are well-known and are advertised clearly on our website.

Katharine Witty

Group director of corporate affairs

Harrods, London SW1

So in 2010 the Vatican Bank withdrew ¤650,000 from an Italian bank without disclosing where the money was headed ("Vatican Bank hit by financial scandal", 19 December). Some institutions will go to any lengths to cover up the expenses they incur in moat cleaning and building duck houses.

Ivor Morgan

Lincoln

Apology

Our article "London's 'Mr Party' defies court to carry on carousing" of 19 December 2010 stated that Mr Edward Davenport has hired out his house on at least one occasion since an injunction forbidding such use of the premises was enforced in July. We accept that it is untrue that Mr Edward Davenport has hired out his house for commercial purposes since the ban. We also accept that the noise abatement notice against Mr Davenport was dismissed and that he was awarded costs of approximately £28,000. Finally we are happy to clarify that a 9 month prison sentence imposed on Mr Davenport for VAT evasion was suspended following appeal after he had served only 16 days.

We would like to apologise to Mr Davenport for any distress or inconvenience caused.

Have your say

Letters to the Editor, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF; email: sundayletters@independent.co.uk (with address; no attachments, please); fax: 020 7005 2627; online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2010/December/26

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own