Today’s billion is a US import

From: Keith Jowett, Woodland Rise, Silkstone Common, Barnsley.

Your correspondent Ernest Dufton is confused as to which is the greater – “one thousand million” or “one billion” (Yorkshire Post, October 10). The answer is that they are both the same – that is, one followed by nine zeros.

It is now common practice to call such a figure one billion. However, this is something of an import from the United States. Traditionally one billion in English terms was a million million or one followed by 12 zeros.

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From: Coun James Alexander, Labour leader of City of York Council, Holgate, York.

In 2009, George Osborne said “printing money is the last resort of desperate governments when all other policies have failed”. Last week the Bank of England said it will inject a further £75bn into the economy through quantitative easing. Does this mean the Government is now desperate?

Protest priority

From: Monika Close, Hallcliffe Crescent, Horbury, Wakefield.

Further to the saga of the tree in Irton (Yorkshire Post, October 5). Naturally, it is always regrettable if a healthy tree has to be cut down, for whatever reason. However, wouldn’t “Beech nut” and her ilk do better to save their tears for the plight of all those pensioners on fixed income, who in all likelihood won’t be able to afford to keep warm this winter?

Better informed

From: Terry Duncan, Greame Road, Bridlington.

Prime Minister David Cameron, in his bid to clamp down on the queue of immigrants, says they must pass a British history test before being admitted (Yorkshire Post, October 11). They will probably be better informed than the hundreds of UK-born contestants I have recently watched on TV quiz shows whose knowledge of British history is next to nil. The latter are a scar on our education system.