If the chancellor really wants to balance the books (Rishi Sunak says Covid economic emergency has only just begun, 25 November), he could stop shelling out money to consultants for doing (badly) the jobs that the government itself should do. He could halt funding of environmentally damaging vanity projects like HS2. Then he could stop subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, which destroy any prospect of meeting zero-carbon targets. In the longer term, we could follow the French example and make big tech companies pay their fair share of tax. But it’s so much easier to cut overseas aid and screw the public servants who have kept the country running while the government has been busy ladling out money to its friends.
• When Rishi Sunak said that ideology doesn’t work (Editorial, 25 November), he was acknowledging that Tory economic ideology doesn’t work. He has almost daily added to the stimulus funding that looks modelled on Rooseveltian New Dealism. That did work – because jobs were created by government at the same time as the stimulus was provided. Now is the time to create a National Care Service by aligning and converting the benefits system with training into an expanded and fairly paid care workforce similar to the US Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s.
Sue Rabbitt Roff
• The chancellor’s failure to mention Brexit in his spending review shows that shifting the blame for the ensuing damage has begun: Covid first, and then the EU. Most alarming is the fact that a no-deal Brexit, which will do the most harm to the economy, is also the outcome that will do the least harm to the government. The economic hardships of Brexit will then be blamed on the EU’s intransigence.
• Last Friday the prime minister called on the G20 nations to stick to their commitment to do “whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic and protect lives and livelihoods” and also to make “bold pledges” to protect the planet. On Wednesday his government announced that expenditure on international aid would be cut from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income. Is the effort just to be made by other countries?
Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire
• Rishi Sunak says it would be difficult to justify spending 0.7% of GDP at this time on overseas aid, which goes to the poorest in the world. I find it difficult to justify how the government can stay committed to spending £205bn on the replacement of Trident submarines.
Littleborough, Greater Manchester
• The Tories referred to the result of the 2008 global financial crisis as “Labour’s Great Recession”. Having been in power for a decade, will they take full responsibility for the results of the global pandemic on their watch?
Bolton, Greater Manchester
• Our Covid economic crisis is second only to that caused by the Great Frost in 1709, which disrupted European trade. Thank goodness we’re not also facing any such disruption as that!
Elvington, North Yorkshire
• Could the Great Frost happen again, just when we all get vaccinated? Things could be so much worse if one of the great volcanoes decided to blow. Maybe we should be counting our economic blessings right now.
St Andrews, Fife