For info I enclose below a letter I sent to the FT a week ago that they (unsurprisingly) chose not to publish:


Sir,

In these times of unusual economic policies around the world, economists and equity market strategists alike are wondering when inflationary pressures will pop.

In the meantime the FT itself continues to stimulate rampant inflation. The earliest edition available in the online archive (December 9, 2005) showed a cover price of £1, compared to today’s £2.90, an increase clearly of 190%. The cost of subscriptions has risen at the same rip-roaring rate. This compares to an increase of only 51.1% over the same period in the RPI.

Of course your economics correspondents know that one should compare apples with apples, and the UK December 2005 edition looks positively obese compared to its current counterpart. Its 45 pages included 4 pages of national news, and 4 pages devoted to UK companies, including a small cap briefing. Today’s so-called UK edition, of a miserable 26 pages in total, includes only 2 pages of national news, and only 1 page solely devoted to UK company news. The “Day in the Markets” feature gives a very broad brush overview of what is happening in markets around the world. Even 10 years ago a dedicated London market reporter could provide some useful commentary.

Naturally the outlook of UK-based investors has become more international since 2005, but if we want deeper insight into European, Asian or North American markets, we can simply click through to the appropriate online edition. In the FT’s “UK” edition coverage of UK mid-cap companies has become erratic and sparse; coverage of small-caps is non-existent. The paper is no longer a newspaper of record for the UK stock market - in summary the UK equity market is being poorly served by today’s FT; its UK readership is being taken for an increasingly expensive ride. Thin gruel for the Covid age.

Yours Faithfully,

The response, from the Editor, was:

Thank you for your email. The change in price and composition of the print FT reflects enormous shifts in the news business since 2005. Notably, the industry-wide decline in print advertising means that readers now pay a larger portion of the cost of publishing the newspaper. With the rise to dominance of online news, we also decided that it makes little sense to publish stories in the paper that are out of date by…

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