Letter: Pre-Budget trickery

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The Independent Culture
Sir: "Enterprise and fairness for all" were the welcome words from Gordon Brown in his pre-Budget speech. As a person with a severe disability, I hope that he and his fellow Labour MPs apply this principle when they reconsider the Welfare Reform Bill and the amendments from the House of Lords - amendments introduced by life peers and not the self-perpetuating oligarchy of hereditary peers.

Former Labour MP and veteran campaigner for disabled rights Lord Ashley warned that there could be "catastrophic consequences" if the Government pushes ahead with the Bill in its present form. His fellow Labour peer, Lord Morris, said Labour should listen to the people over the issue. By voting against the cuts outlined in the Bill, he was supporting the Labour Party manifesto that made no mention of cuts against disabled people.

In its totality there are many plus factors in the Welfare Reform Bill. I only hope that taxing the disabled doesn't undermine these. As Lord Ashley said, this would mean that people with disabilities who qualify for benefit in the future - benefits below the poverty line - would have to pay tax.

D ANDREW COLDWELL

Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

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