More control
needed over
greedy banks

From: Paul Rouse, Sutton on Derwent, York.

THE Treasury Select Committee has now demanded more transparency and governance for the Bank of England, whereas what it actually needs is more control by our democratically-elected representatives.

Giving the Bank of England total autonomy, which Gordon Brown did, has resulted in a Canadian national, Mark Carney, making decisions that fundamentally affect the lives of millions of UK citizens. This is unacceptable, as are the policies he has followed in recent years (Sarah Todd, The Yorkshire Post, December 19).

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Mr Carney and the Bank actively set out to dissuade people from saving so as to encourage consumer spending. In a letter to me, the Bank states ‘a low interest rate makes savings less attractive and stimulates spending”, going on to say “when households are reluctant to spend, a low interest rate can encourage spending which is crucial to economic recovery”. So, he believes that the way out of a recession caused by overspending, is to force people into spending more.

However, I am not sure that it is the low base rate which has penalised savers over the past few years, but rather the Bank of England policy of giving the high street banks access to as much operating money as they require, at virtually no cost.

The banks therefore have no need to attract money, and it is that, not the base rate, which has depressed interest on savings. If the Bank of England stopped doling out this taxpayers’ money to the high street banks, those banks would need to get money from savers, by offering them a reasonable rate of interest.

After all, it’s not as if the high street banks have thanked us by mending their ways, is it?

From: Hilary Andrews, Leeds.

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I WAS delighted to receive a letter from the Inland Revenue telling me that, after careful consideration of my tax return sent to them in May this year, I had overpaid tax. By 1p!

I am thinking of writing back to them to tell them to put it towards the country’s deficit. What a waste of workers’ time, computer paper and postage. No wonder we are in such an economic mess.

Labour’s Tory benefits shift

From: Michael Meadowcroft, Former Liberal MP, Waterloo Lane, Leeds.

ED Miliband’s article “To worry about immigration is not prejudice” (The Yorkshire Post, December 16) betrays a fundamental shift away from socialism and, for that matter, from any sensitive view of how we care for people.

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He wrote: “Fair rules also means (sic) that entitlement to benefits needs to be earned. You should contribute before you claim.” This may seem highly plausible but, if implemented, it would exclude the very poorest from aid. Those most in need of help are precisely those who are unable to contribute financially, though they may well contribute in many other ways. Benefits need to be based on need, both overseas and in Britain. Incidentally, everyone living in Britain contributes, through the VAT they pay on their purchases.

If the article expresses a very Conservative stance now taken by Ed Miliband and Labour, they need to spell it out rather than slipping it into an article on immigration.

Church cure
for loneliness

From: H. Marjorie Gill, Clarence Drive, Menston.

THE tragedy of loneliness certainly is a blight on our society (GP Taylor, The Yorkshire Post, December 23), but how has it happened so suddenly? Certainly if one loses a vital member of the family, that is a loss which will never be assuaged, but surely one doesn’t lose all one’s family and friends at one sad blow? There are so many organisations able and willing to provide interesting companionship, starting with churches.

At most of the Methodist churches around here, there are daily drop-in cafes which welcome all comers.

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In my opinion, the Christian churches are a vital source of people who reach out to the lonely and bereaved. Of course, the people themselves have to make an effort. Simply saying “Oh, I’m not religious, I’m not going there” doesn’t help.


From: AI Stubbs, Melbourne Court, Bridlington.

COMPUTERS, though expensive, make useful Christmas gifts. In their early days a common saying was “garbage in, garbage out”. It meant that if the programming was lousy, the computer’s output would be useless.

The human mind is a million times more sophisticated than a computer, but the same principle applies. The quality of our mental output depends on what we put into our minds. If we fill them with rubbish then that’s what we will return. We can’t fill our minds with rubbish then turn around and act rightly – even though we think we can.

The mind, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Therefore throughout Christmas and the entire New Year we need to fill this priceless gift with quality thoughts, then there won’t be room for invading temptations, lustful impulses and thoughts of the wrong kind. Then what comes out will be productive and useful.