IoS letters, emails & online postings (9 January 2011)

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Last Sunday's "People's guide to common sense" reveals our legislators' ineptitude. One change would put the economy on a sound footing and avoid another credit crunch: abolishing International Financial Reporting.

Accounts used to be based on historical cost – what actually happened. But this has been replaced by "fair value", an imaginary figure that can be neither proved nor disproved. Such valuations are often accompanied by so many caveats as to render them useless.

If a service is provided at less than what the fantasists believe is "market value", accounts are charged with costs that do not exist. It is the coin's flip side that damages the economy: if the market value of an asset is deemed to be higher than it was, then such unrealised (ie not earned) profits are taken into the Income Statement. Thus, bankers are taking bonuses on unrealised profits. When such profits do not materialise (as is often the case), banks have a "black hole" in their cash balances – which is why they haven't got much money to lend.

Accounts should be changed so that only realised profits are shown, and bonuses paid only if sufficient cash has been generated to justify them.

Malcolm Howard

Banstead, Surrey

Only businesses that produce at least half a ton of hazardous waste annually must register, so lots are exempt. Through registration and fees, the Environment Agency knows which premises produce that waste and has the funds to inspect them. Some businesses would not dispose of these wastes in an environmentally acceptable manner if there were no enforcement regime. Although the cost of registration is referred to as "yet another tax on business", it costs only £18 per year.

Jonathan Wallace

Fenham, Newcastle upon Tyne

Three million people are affected by the complex leasehold system in England and Wales. This needs to be simplified and residential leasehold laws should be replaced by a clear commonhold system. The Government should organise a review of this system.

Robert Heale

Brighton, East Sussex

I do not recognise the affluent old age of the voters to whom John Rentoul says the coalition appeals ("Willetts banks on the silver vote", 2 January). I am a 78-year-old grandmother with two teenage grandchildren facing increased university fees. Another granddaughter is frustrated by the stagnant housing market, and views with alarm the cost of childcare. Her university debt still has to be repaid. I have to ring-fence my modest savings in case I need long-term care. My legacy could well become a debt my family will need to finance.

Edith Johns

Dover, Kent

The tragic phenomenon of farmer suicides in India began long before the introduction of Monsanto's Bollgard cotton in 2002 ("India's hidden climate change disaster", 2 January). While campaigners seek to link this problem to seed technology, a 2004 survey of cotton farmers in India showed a 118 per cent increase in profit for farmers planting Bollgard over traditional cotton. Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh told parliament on 26 December: "Cotton acreage has expanded from 29,000 hectares in 2002-03 to eight million hectares in 2009-10." The average yield had also increased from 308kg per hectare in 2001-02 to 560kg per hectare in 2007-08.

Farmers are Monsanto's customers, and we are successful only if our customers are successful, as they are with Bollgard. We have many repeat customers and many new ones there every year.

Mark Buckingham

Corporate Affairs, Monsanto UK


Mark Seddon's article "We may be witnessing a new age of Christian persecution" (2 January) focused on Iraq but could also have mentioned the persecutions in Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt, Bethlehem, Israel, Kano, Nigeria, and Gojra, Pakistan.

Howard David Sterling

New York, USA

Governor Salmaan Taseer of the Punjab has always been outspoken against tyranny, injustice and intolerance. His despicable assassination is a wound to the equality movement of Pakistan.

Wilson Chowdhry

British Pakistani Christian Association

via email

Mickey Rourke or any non-Welsh actor playing the part of Gareth Thomas on screen gives me the heebie-jeebies (Janet Street-Porter, 2 January). The only non-Welsh people to do a Welsh accent without sounding like someone from Goodness Gracious Me are Paul Whitehouse and the late Peter Sellers. My suggestion would be Steffan Rhodri (Dave Coaches from Gavin and Stacey). Not only can he do an authentic Welsh accent, he can also discriminate, crucially, between the accents of West Wales, Cardiff, Swansea and the valleys. And he has the right colour hair.

Gill Figg


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