Letter: Pension rights and wrongs

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Sir: Polly Toynbee suggests ("Why I should give back my widow's pension", 4 December) that there is no need for the well-off to draw universal benefits - sickness, unemployment, child benefit or pensions.

That means that those benefits would all have to be means-tested. Who would welcome that? When there is such a large disparity between the incomes of the rich and the poor, a better way of giving the Government more money would be to tax the rich more, by making income tax more steeply graduated, as it was years ago. In addition, inheritance tax should be graduated, as capital transfer tax used to be.

I am not suggesting that we should go back to the particular rates of tax in force when the Conservatives came to power in 1979. To aim at a half-way position might be better.

JOHN WYMER

Bridport, Dorset

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