AMBLE: Europe

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Home grown economic woes

The froth created by the argument about the advantages and drawbacks of being in the EU seems to have obscured the real “limbo in the room” that has skewered the British economy, namely the failure to control the housing market.

Given a population of 60 million and an average of three persons per house equates to approximately 20 million houses at an average value of £280,000. These houses were worth half of this 15 to 20 years ago, which means that 20 million x £140,000 has been leaked from the economy with nothing to show for it, but which should have built another 20 million houses.

That works out at £2.8trillion, enough to pay off the £1.4trillion national debt, finance Trident, HS2, Hinkley nuclear power station, the new aircraft carrier, etc, and still have more than enough left to dual the A1 from Morpeth to Berwick.

Much of the “quantitative easing” designed to grow the wider economy is finding its way into rising house prices, but rejoice – the property market is “picking up”. There are quite enough houses, there’s too many people.

Low productivity is apparently another factor holding back our economy, despite our productive workers having to put in much longer hours than our competitors.

One could ponder whether having 8.5 million “public servants” for a population of 60 million compared to Germany, which seems to rub along quite nicely with three million for a population of over 80 million, affected overall productivity. No doubt the EU may account for some economic woes and onerous debt burden, but to identity the main culprit we should perhaps look in the mirror.

I am voting out, but only on account of what Enoch Powell called “Sovereignty”.

John Curry,

Alnwick