LETTER: Flaws in means-tested benefits

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From The Rev Paul Nicolson

Sir: While the political parties vie with each other to excel in righteous indignation at benefit fraud to ingratiate themselves with taxpayers, there is nobody to campaign for an increase in the level of income support.

There is evidence that some parents receiving income support go without food for a day or two a week to ensure their children are fed. They experience the constant bombardment of unpaid bills and debt collectors, the desperate borrowing from loan sharks, the arbitrary deduction from an already inadequate income support of debts for water rates, poll tax, etc, all added to the repayment of emergency loans to the Social Fund.

It has been shown time and again that most people on income support are not bad managers nor fraudsters any more than the rest of us. They quite simply do not have enough money. It all leads to stress, ill health and family breakdown and even greater cost to the tax payer.

It may be cheaper to ensure that income support is at a level which can without doubt feed, clothe and keep people warm.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Nicolson



9 August