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News and Views: A different view from Switzerland: Scotland Symbolises An Unbalanced Kingdom by James Hanshaw

Herewith my letter. There is much more I could have added but letters have to be brief. Of the UK bank lending to business, over 80% is for construction with over 80% of that construction being in London and over 80% of that is being sold to foreigners with some of the most expensive residential properties being bought by Russians and Ukrainians. Ukraine is a bankrupt state that has defaulted twice on IMF loans and now has its hands out for more. Some of that money was possibly stolen by those buying that property in London.

Yet some British politicians have touted this a sign of confidence in the rule of law in Britain that protects foreigner’s money there and also crowing about the improvements to Britain’s awful balance of payments and the large amount of foreign direct investment in Britain!

I thought balance of payments was about exports reducing imports but Britain produces so little anymore. I do not know when property buying became classified as FDI as I thought that meant investing in businesses and I thought receiving stolen money was a crime.That aside, it is nearly all going to London. I hope Britain has some of that money under investigation – Switzerland has frozen some suspect bank accounts – and that if it is stolen it will be returned to the people of Ukraine.

As to the population growth, the 400,000 per year figure was an estimate by the ONS in 2009 for average annual growth in the next 10 years to 2020. They also stated that over 90% is in England and most of that in the South. Four years on the population must have therefore grown by around 1.6 million people. Birmingham is Britain’s second largest city with a population of around 1.1 million so a new one bigger than Birmingham should have been built by now with another every three years. None is even contemplated to my knowledge and house building languishes at around 1920s levels.

One of the special things about Scotland is that little of that population growth is happening there. I suppose the counter side of that is there is insufficient employment to attract people but, being a selfish retired person, I prefer Scotland to keep its natural beauty and not be drowned in people and cars and overcrowded housing estates.


Hanshaw, J. (2014), Financial Times Publication, London UK, Published: 16th May 2014, website accessed June 3rd 2014:

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