We do not disagree with your correspondents (Why the UK is the sick man of Europe again, Letters, 28 June), but they don’t point out the error in Martin Kettle’s article. He was wrong to call the German furlough scheme “more generous”, when it pays only 60%-67% compared with 80% in the UK. The German programme applies only to insured employees, so all low-waged and precarious workers suffer, and the self-employed get nothing.
Besides, the German health system is largely privatised, with profits going to shareholders. The same miserable neoliberal economic policies are rampant in both countries.
Instead of suggesting we live on separate planets, would it not be more useful to stress our common problems and our need to learn from each other? A large part of Germany’s pandemic response is probably down to its federal system, where responsibility for health, education and culture is devolved to 16 states that compete with each other. It’s a mistake to draw conclusions from afar about another country; only insiders really know what’s going on.
Frank Coffield Emeritus professor of education, UCL Institute of Education and Reiner Siebert Lecturer, Duisburg-Essen University