Dear Editor, I was saddened by the frustrated tone of the sentiments expressed in the letter from Nick and Jenny Walker of Ilmington, near Stratford on Avon, regarding the impact of the proposal for a new "eco" town at Long Marston. The panic for New Labour's eco towns are because of its "out of control" immigration and, as an aside, I have suggested that the town (if built) should be renamed Longski Marstonska!
"New town plans would ruin historic Stratford for ever" is no understatement; not only Stratford but the lovely villages in the hinterland also. New Labour is, of course, intent on spreading its decodence to all parts of what is left of Middle England, the envy of much of the world.
Listing the inadequacies of the public services by building this town is falling on deaf ears. Brown does not listen; the list of inadequate public services has been repeated time and time again but is obviously being ignored. Those with "vested interests" in the building game, developers they are called, have not even mentioned nor refuted these criticisms. Gas and electricity supplies could also be added to the inadequate list; electricity is forever being cut off in this area of Warwickshire and gas is not available in many parts.
New Labour's intent on covering our green and pleasant land with brick boxes and concrete can be qualified with the debate that is currently taking place in Parliament to build new runways and new towns quickly, without the need for public inquiries and local taxpayers' and citizens' concerns.
Everybody should take an interest in such government deviousness, whether they are involved or not; all of our turns could come.
New Labour's bad management has caused our problems.
Now they are trying to cure what they have created but causing more chaos as a result, ruining our country, its heritage and our quality of life (even for visitors who travel and holiday in the Stratford area in their millions).
Are you listening Gordon? If not, can you read, Gordon?
DOUGLAS J WATHEN
Salford Priors Nr Evesham
Arrogance of investors to blame for buy-to-let problems
Dear Editor, I have commented in the past about the potential demise of the 'buy-to-let' market, wherein investors have over-reached themselves in a dwindling market.
The sheer arrogance of some of these - wealthy 'buy to leave' investors - still remains staggering in the face of the current climate.
I feel some sympathy for small investors, although their naivety leaves something to be desired if they were taken in by the advertising industry.
The signs were there with the collapse in the American sub-prime market. Anyone with any nouse would have realised that it was a dodgy thing to do by relying on housing as a potential pension income.
Anyone watching Panorama (2 June 2008) cannot, I'm sure, fail to be affected by the plight of those who have succumbed to over-stretching themselves with their mortgage.
I believe that some creative thinking is imperative. There was a hint of this in Post Property Friday last. If developers were allowed to offer properties for rent, as well as for sale, maybe this can go some way to help solve the housing crisis and those who cannot afford to buy, but can rent and want some security.
Renting should not carry the stigma that it appears to do in this country. Other European countries accept this as normal and there are a vast majority of households who do this and are secure tenants.
This is what we need here in the UK, after a 'probationary' period, a secure tenancy - not just 6 months, renewable, shorthold tenancies.
Kings Norton, Birmingham
Lost lives, lost integrity and more suffering
Dear Editor, As the United Nations food summit in Rome takes place, now is a perfect time for world leaders to address the food price crisis. In the many countries across the world where Oxfam works, the negative impact of higher food prices on poor people is evident, with many people now being forced to spend more than half of their income on food.
Any solutions must include both short and long term responses, going beyond just humanitarian aid. Although this is a mammoth challenge to the leadership and legitimacy of the world's multilateral institutions, it presents a genuine opportunity for long-overdue reforms to be implemented.
Oxfam estimates that an extra $14.5bn is needed to scale up immediate assistance to at least 290 million people who find themselves threatened by the rising food prices. Although this might seem high, it shrinks in comparison to the $1 trillion that the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have injected into the financial system in the past six months in an attempt to ward off economic crisis.
As well as social protection schemes to help the poorest, long term political changes are needed such as an urgent review of compulsory biofuel targets in rich countries and the current system of food aid.
Completing a global free trade deal along current lines would not help the situation as existing proposals at the WTO would lock in liberalisation and remove flexibility, further exposing poor countries to market unpredictability.
Although an unprecedented level of co-ordination is needed across agencies, governments and the private sector to address this crisis, the large amounts of money spent on averting the financial crisis show what is possible when political motivation exists.
The cost of failure will not just be measured in lost lives and suffering but also in lost integrity.
Midlands Campaigner for Oxfam.