Andrew Tyrie (“Less dogma, more common sense”, 12 July) says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) needs to “restore its reputation as a provider of independent advice”. The IMF does not dispense independent advice but it is the enforcer of last resort for the dominant neo-liberal (Reagan/Thatcher) economics of the rich world.
It only has one response to any economic crisis in any country which is to suggest, opening up of markets (in which it believes with a religious zeal), dismantling of welfare provisions, and privatisation of state assets. It has proposed this, and made it a condition of a loan to countries as widely differing as the UK and Mongolia. It even sometimes forgets to replace the previous country name in the standard document when issuing it to a new country, for example, the Mongolian document still included “Ecuador” in places. Many poor countries have good reason to regret their IMF help, the latest being Greece.
John Rentoul quotes a government spokeswoman as saying that, “This Government has delivered on a manifesto commitment on which they were elected, which was to cut benefits,” and he comments, “In other words that’s what the country voted for,” (“After the cheers, Budget stats tell a sad story”, 12 July).
The Conservatives received 11.3 million votes on 7 May, whereas 18.4 million electors supported parties opposed to the Conservatives. Hardly evidence to argue that the country voted for the benefit cuts.
Leeds, West Yorkshire
I note that after many columns extolling the virtues of a Cameron government, John Rentoul is concerned that George Osborne’s latest Budget has increased the level of inequality in the UK (Comment, 12 July). I believe the term is caveat emptor.
The shortage of decent housing could be an opportunity to encourage and support great design. The government could throw down the challenge to top international as well as national designers. It might mean thinking outside the parameters currently used; a good proportion must be available for those who cannot afford mortgages, why not build two-bedroomed houses at the lower price end?
Why assume that single people, the disabled and the elderly only require one? And why should it cost more in a well-designed scheme to have more than one “spare” room? Build housing which is flexible and can have many uses, in attractive circumstances, there must be plenty of space for good democratic design in those pretty villages where Cameron and his cronies live!
While reading The Independent on Sunday over breakfast the thought occurs that this may be a thing of the past for the workforce if Sunday becomes just another day (“Awake, puritans of England” 12 July). Thank God I’m retired. We retirees may be the only ones with the time to read the “Sundays”, bought after a stroll to the shop open only for that purpose, and to cook a Sunday roast.
The human brain needs a break in waking hours, if we want productivity and innovation instead of a hyperactive robotic population heading for a breakdown. The more laid-back Greeks may have no money left, but they could have the right idea. The Greeks have previously given civilisation quite a few gifts, and I bet they did not stint on a bit of relaxation time while at it.
Coventry, West Midlands
I agree with D J Taylor about not wishing to extend Sunday trading hours. When the law changed a generation ago, it was designed to give smaller retailers the advantage of having longer hours if they so wish. As a result we’ve seen the fightback of the traditional corner shop, who would lose out if the giants of the sector were allowed to open as long.
Grimsby, LincolnshireReuse content