Letter: Living without free furniture

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was dismayed by Roy Hattersley's demand for increased financial help for the unemployed ("Labour's mission is power, not the poor", 30 July) and particularly by the two examples he used.

I earn pounds 720 net per month for a 40-hour week. From this I pay pounds 250 mortgage costs and pounds 52 council tax. This leaves me pounds 420 per month to support my wife (non earning) and two children. This is far less than the "just over pounds 500 after housing costs and council tax" received by the unemployed family of two adults and two children. In addition I pay pounds 48 each month on train fares to work.

Like the second example, when I first purchased my shell of a house I had no money for furniture and for two years my wife and baby son slept on the floor until I had saved enough money for a bed. No politicians urged that we be given free furniture as Roy Hattersley does for the non working. I voted for New Labour because I resented large chunks of my meagre wages being taken in taxes by the previous government and given to those too lazy to work for a living.

Incidentally, unlike the sample family we never go short of food - perhaps this family do so because they choose to spend their benefit money on less important things.

ROBIN BASAK

Hitchin, Hertfordshire

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