THE silver lining of the festive-spending clouds is shining through.

The 1940s war debt to the USA is finally paid off, largely by the older generations, which should leave extra money in our purses.

The pound is at record levels. And this month is the last for paying the 2006 council tax before a two-month respite, leaving more extra cash to build up the depleted funds for the huge basic living increases of the new financial year.

For the very old, yet another winter tenner from Tony and Gordon, which they have not cut for several years.

That's not all, we are one year nearer 2012 when, if still in power, they will consider bringing back the link between pensions and earnings, if the economy is still buoyant and we survive. It could be worse.

George Appleby, Leighton Croft, Clifton, York.