Credit squeeze hits home

CONCERN on the world's money markets about the amount of credit has often seemed somewhat removed from the real world.But the news that one of Britain's biggest mortgage lenders, the Northern Rock, has had to apply to the Bank of England for a special loan will cause concern for everyone with a bank account.

CONCERN on the world's money markets about the amount of credit has often seemed somewhat removed from the real world.

But the news that one of Britain's biggest mortgage lenders, the Northern Rock, has had to apply to the Bank of England for a special loan will cause concern for everyone with a bank account.

Northern Rock is not in financial trouble in the normal sense of the word - although it is facing a short-term cash squeeze that is magnified because so much of its value is tied up in mortgages.

Today's news should not really cause immediate concern to many people, especially in this part of the world because the company does not have a big presence in East Anglia.

But as an indication that there are serious concerns about the level of debt in the economy, the company's problems cannot be ignored.

Already other major mortgage lenders have started increasing their interest rates and that will cause concern to people who have borrowed to the hilt in an attempt to get their first foothold on the housing ladder.

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And if people start to feel the pressure of increasing mortgage rates that could eventually make homes more affordable for first-time buyers.

But any adjustment like this brings with it the risk of real pain and recession - and after 10 years of economic growth that is a very unappealing prospect.

NEWS that a young mother died while giving birth at Ipswich Hospital earlier this week will cause shock and concern around the area - thousands of people rely on its maternity services.

However everyone must remember that such tragedies are very rare - although the full facts of the case do need to be investigated and made public.

And the thoughts of everyone will be with the family of the dead woman and her baby which survived with the ordeal - as well as the dedicated hospital staff who fought so hard to try to save the young mum.

The time for the investigation will come soon enough, but now is the time for the family and staff to grieve for their loss.

AFTER all the excitement and success of our international teams over the last week, Ipswich Town's footballers return to the bread and butter stuff of league football tomorrow with a crucial match against Mogga's Baggies.

After the disappointment of losing against Watford a fortnight ago, this is an opportunity for the team to get the season back on track . . . although Town fans accept it will not be easy.

West Brom were one of the strongest sides in the Championship last season, and many were surprised when they were pipped for the last promotion place by Derby.

But they are not unbeatable this year - and Town will be looking for inspiration from England and Scotland as they run out at the Hawthorns tomorrow afternoon.

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