Letter: Cultural riches of Radio 3 no substitute for helping the poor

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The Independent Online
Sir: Marianne Macdonald shows she lives far from the real world by suggesting that financing Radio 3 by a tax is the same as financing unemployment pay or sick pay out of taxation. ("Why we should all pay to keep Radio 3 elite", 11 September.)

The effect on her of withdrawing tax finance for Radio 3 would probably be that it became more like Classic FM, and she might have to buy more CDs to get the music she wanted to hear. But an unemployed person losing benefit would be unable to buy food, heat and shelter.

There is an old principle that government expenditure should be progressive rather than regressive - it is better to transfer resources from the rich to the poor than vice-versa. Financing Radio 3 out of the licence fee is an example of regressive expenditure; indeed, the licence fee itself is a regressive tax.

DAVID SAWERS

Littlehampton, West Sussex

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