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

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

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nigel Farage has urged supporters to buy Mike Read's Ukip Calypso song and push it up to the No 1 spot  

Mike Read’s Ukip calypso is mesmerisingly atrocious — but it's not racist

Matthew Norman
Shirley Shackleton, wife of late journalist Gregory Shackleton, sits next to the grave of the 'Balibo Five' in Jakarta, in 2010  

Letter from Asia: The battle for the truth behind five journalists’ deaths in Indonesia

Andrew Buncombe
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London