From Simon BaumI write with regard to the comment piece by Keith Butler in last week’s issue (Mortgage Strategy December 5) entitled ‘Affordability figures must add up’. I started reading what I thought was a general piece on affordability but found it soon descended into being a misleading and inaccurate portrayal of Alliance & Leicester, its mortgage lending and its affordability-based lending model. For example, his comment on the extra costs of having a child and how these are calculated is incorrect. In fact, the amount that we calculate a child increases monthly outgoings varies according to a number of factors including income, geography and the number of in the family. Alliance & Leicester introduced affordability-based lending this September and since then we have received great support and feedback from brokers. We believe affordability-based lending is a more responsible way to approach lending because it is based on customers’ personal circumstances including individual monthly spending patterns and disposable income, rather than income multiples. Certainly it offers more flexibility to those who have little or no debt. But it also means we lend less to those who have large loan commitments. Our recent announcement to the City shows we have a healthy mortgage business built on responsible foundations.