Readers’ letters - October 9

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We must never trust Tories on economy

After seven years of economic failure, Britain has lower wages than when the Tories regained power.

In this ‘strong economy’, measured by the Chancellor Philip Hammond, sadly it means four million children live in poverty and homelessness has doubled, with more food banks than ever used by the low-waged workers.

The timing of the Tory conference is equally bad for their free market strategy, with the news about Bombardier affecting trade deals and British jobs.

Problems with Ryanair and collapse of Monarch airlines does not sit well within the Brexit talks as thousands of people have lost holidays.

When capitalism collapses, it is big style, as we know from the banking crisis of 2008.

Nobody in the EU referendum voted for poverty, or to destroy trade links with the EU, but the Tories, hamstrung with unrealistic fantasies spewing from the puppet master Boris and stage-struck stooge Liam Fox, do not see the sense of staying in the single market, or customs union!

Then promises, promises, with the electrification of the Pennines rail link promised in 2011, but not saying sorry to the travelling public in the North who put up with clapped-out trains, and sub-standard services.

Prior to the election, Theresa May calculated it was right to go negative on Corbyn’s leadership and ideals for the country, thinking they were going to strengthen their majority.

How wrong could they 
be?

With a weakened leader and Brexit chaos, they are a dried-out husk on infertile ground, without a coherent strategy to flourish.

The Conservatives’ failed austerity programme continues to cause misery across the UK, with wage stagnation, higher costs of living through inflation and homelessness increasing.

We must never trust the Tories to manage the economy again as they have failed us through support of their capitalist ideology.

Enter stage left and deliver the leader who can offer a strategy to reverse the failed economics of the Tories!

Roy Lewis

Address supplied

technology

Flaws good for scammers

I was interested to read Neil Inkley’s contribution to Your Say, regarding setting up a voice recognition system so he could communicate with HMRC (LP Letters, September 27).

He is not the only one “left wondering who persuaded HMRC to invest taxpayers’ money in this innovation”.

Indeed I will go further and say this FLAWED innovation.

It is a flawed system for one simple reason: the scammers can already beat the system and it is yet another one where all takers of phone calls should be aware.

The call will usually come from a virtual geographic phone number. so that the scammer can hide from where they are really calling.

The scammer will try to engage you in some conversation but without telling you that the call is being recorded, or even be so bold as to state the usual “this call is being recorded for monitoring and training purposes”.

Well, of course it is, because they want to hear you say certain words (the monitoring ‘process’) as well as ‘training’ others in the subtle art of both persuasion and asking you the right questions to gather your security information.

They can then edit the conversation and use it in any system which relies on voice recognition as its security ‘firewall’.

Of course, to anyone caught out by this, they will simply see it as having had a weird conversation with someone, then wait for the bombshell to be told by any body who uses VR as its security that his/her accounts have been cleared or have suffered other financial hardship or identity theft without them knowing and with the organisation blaming the poor, helpless individual for the problem, when it is the system itself that is flawed.

Of course, the bodies would defend their actions.

Well, they would because a) they have invested a lot of money in the technology and b) do not want to lose face over having made a bad decision, despite plenty of evidence of the flaws in the system that the scammers are so easy to foil.

Yet more money being wasted by the Government and we, the taxpayers, are paying for it, just like that disastrous NHS IT system.

The trouble I have is that nobody seems to be punished for such wastefulness ... except, that is, the taxpayer.

Neil Swindlehurst

Walmer Bridge

education

Universities need revamp

In years gone by, only a small percentage of the brightest pupils took degrees.

Consequently the state could afford to pay for their tuition, and give students

a proper means-tested

grant.

But for whatever reasons, including the desire to keep the dole queues down, it was felt necessary to try and get half of all scholars undertaking degree-level study.

Not only did this dilute the quality of a degree, but it made the potential educational costs far higher unless steps were taken to introduce fees and loans.

It would be better to ‘re-polytechnicise’ some of the lesser universities, to let them concentrate on practical job-related subjects once more.

Meanwhile the cleverest students could get a debt-free degree, whatever their background.

Tim Mickleburgh

Address

supplied

education

Cap interest on student loans

The Tory proposal to increase the repayment income threshold on student loans from £21,000 to £25,000 is helpful, but merely a palliative measure.

A far more popular step, short of reducing academic fees, would have been to cap the interest at say one per cent. A post-graduate earning say £26,000 will, if the new threshold is implemented, still find difficulty reducing the loan because of the high interest charges.

The Tories should close the student loan office in Glasgow, given the privileged position of Scottish students attending Scottish universities, and relocate it to an area of England with a significant level of unemployment.

Graham Branston

via email