Radical response to recession’s return

WE are back in recession, officially. The Treasury is briefing that it is because of the European Union, to which 40 per cent of our exports go because it is barely growing. The Treasury doesn’t mention that the rest of the world – which takes the other 60 per cent – is growing at an average of 6 per cent. Indeed, the global economy has been growing consistently at 5 per cent overall since the alleged “world recession” started.

Even the politicians, approved pundits and civil servants dare not dispute that it would be perfectly easy to get out of recession and into at least world average growth any time they wanted to. All that is needed is for politicians to let the free market operate.

Adam Smith said: “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: All the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”

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The corollary is that nothing else is required to ruin a country than politicians who insist on controlling everything.

Neil Craig

Woodlands Road


IT SEEMS the UK economy is once again entering recession.

This need not have happened if the billions of pounds given by Chancellor George Osborne to the European Union and in foreign aid had been spent on our own economy. It seems Mr Osborne never learned that charity begins at home. Of course, he did not go to the same schools as most of the working population.

What we need is some common sense back in government, as in Margaret Thatcher’s day.

William S McGeary



WHILE the latest economic statistics are disappointing – worse for those undoubtedly suffering – we should not give so much attention to the odd 0.2 per cent between being just in recession or just in growth, or to the perceived accuracy of government statistics. They are extremely difficult to compile on a totally accurate basis.

Moreover, a delay was inevitable between public sector lay-offs and the private sector’s renewed confidence to hire people into productive employment. The fact that former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling’s forecast was less than today’s actual borrowing is irrelevant; it was, after all, only his best guess.

The major change of the past two years which would have affected our economy under any UK government has been the increasing shambles in the eurozone, and the continued state of denial among its principal members about its causes and remedies.

Ally this to the banks’ unwillingness even to lend to each other, as they have not been forced to reveal the full scale of their potential bad debts (almost five years after Northern Rock’s collapse) and the surprise is that we are not in a far worse situation.

The worry is that the cuts have hardly begun, and as Michael Levack of the Scottish Building Federation and Alex Orr advocate (Letters, 27 April) and which many of us argued three years ago, we need to expand our capital investment in genuine infrastructure projects for the benefit of the whole 21st century, by long-term finance and if necessary direct use of quantitative easing, not from current taxation, plus real inroads into current public expenditure such as the Republic of Ireland is courageously implementing.

John Birkett

Horseleys Park

St Andrews