Letter: Labour's challenge: to win power and keep faith with the poor

Celebrate diversity
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The Independent Online
Sir: I would make two points on new Labour and equality ("Left behind", 25 April).

Labour believes in equality of opportunity, evidenced by our plans to prioritise training and education, to protect employment rights, to tackle homelessness and poverty, and to encourage business and enterprise to invest and think long-term. But Labour has never believed in equality of outcome, where everyone ends up the same. Socialism celebrates diversity, not conformity.

Secondly, the way to improve equality of opportunity is to create growth in the economy, smash the vested interests which hamper individual advancement, and to reward hard work, not redistribute wealth through direct taxes to pay for increased benefits. Unemployment must be tackled at its source: through investment in skills and new technology, not ameliorated by an ever-expanding welfare bill. Increased government spending on welfare payments is a sign of economic failure, not a totem of success.

Paul Richards

London W6

The writer is prospective Labour parliamentary candidate for Billericay