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Bankers' bluff; YourSay.

THE argument that banks and bankers would, if provoked, leave London has been endlessly used to justify the greedy bonuses.

But now Andy Haldane, the Bank of England head of financial stability, has called the bankers' bluff by suggesting that departure lounges at our airports would hardly be full to bursting point.

Indeed, apart from the small firms running hedge funds, it's difficult to construct a picture of persecuted British bankers fleeing a cruel regime and turn their backs on such natural advantages as the English language, a favourable time zone etc.

And now tax havens, such as the Cayman Islands, have been overbalanced by the credit crunch, the traditional investments, such as Switzerland, are stretched to breaking point by supporting their existing customers, they wouldn't want to take on more responsibility.

This is the worst recession since the Second World War, deeper than the early 1980s downturn. The good news, if it can be described as such, is that things are not worse and matters are getting slightly better.

On an international level, coordinated public policy saved the world from financial collapse and we haven't seen a return to protectionism - remember it was the erection of the trade barriers that caused the 1930s Great Depression in the UK. Unemployment hasn't been quite so bad as expected and the housing market has generally defied the pessimistic predictions that it would go into freefall and repossessions have been muted thanks to lower interest rates.

The system looks more stable and more resilient than it did six months ago, but there is a very difficult road ahead.

We can expect progress at an international level on improving the regulation of capital liquidity.

Mrs S Parkes, Kingsbury
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 6, 2010
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