IT is difficult to know where to start in refuting Tom Ball's tirade of wild accusations against Jeremy Corbyn, suggesting that he is a "communist" who would "cripple the economy" (HAS, Nov 19)

First, managing a nation's budget is entirely different from managing a household budget. Britain's public debt currently stands at £1.8 trillion, or 83 per cent of GDP – up from 65 per cent in 2010, despite nine years of Tory/LibDem "austerity". Austerity was supposed to bring down the debt, but instead has only hurt the poorest in society.

Now let me take Mr Ball back to 1945, when public debt stood at 250 per cent of GDP. Did the Labour government prescribe a period of savage austerity? No. Prime Minister Clem Attlee, with Nye Bevan as minister for health and housing, began a massive programme of public spending, nationalising several industries, clearing slums, building council houses and creating the NHS and the welfare state.

Did this "cripple the economy"? No. It kick-started the economy, resulting in a sharp fall in the national debt, which continued for 30 years.

Does Mr Ball think Attlee and Bevan were communists?

Jeremy Corbyn's proposals are relatively modest. Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland offer free university education. The Netherlands, France and Japan have publicly owned railways. Norway, Singapore, South Korea and Australia have National Investment Banks to fund infrastructure projects.

Does Mr Ball regard these countries as communist states?

Mr Corbyn is a democratic socialist, not a communist; and John McDonnell is a shrewd economist. They offer the best hope for Britain's future.

Pete Winstanley, Durham