Letter: Dependency culture

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The Independent Online
Sir: I would offer strong support, from personal experience, of Polly Toynbee's statement that, "Taking away [benefit] entitlements from those who don't need them will cause an outcry, but one the Government could face down, so long as it is crystal clear where the money is going and why." ("Beveridge's phoney system", 22 December)

Since a stroke three years ago, I am a disabled pensioner. State pension for my wife and self, plus attendance allowance, brings us several hundred pounds a month. But as I accept it, I see it as hardly more than I pay in tax on my good vocational pensions. In effect, they give me back my own money, when a fairer society would still take some contribution from me as one of the better placed.

Labour needs to use some form of income assessment as one of its tools if it is to seek firmness. There are many others besides myself with other income over pounds 12,000 or pounds 15,000 whose benefits, if they continue, could be cut by half or more. We might grumble, but we ought to be farther back in the queue - and we would still vote Labour.

I am concerned by the numbers of Labour supporters rushing to tell Tony Blair what he must not even consider. This is no way to get an effective review.