Letter: Reactions to Conservative conference comments

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am appalled at Peter Lilley's speech at the Conservative Party conference today. How dare he attack claimants of benefits] It's his government's policies that have increased the need for us all to have to claim.

I am one of the newly 'unemployed' - not able to claim the unemployment benefit because I was self-employed - but I receive income support. This is all I can receive. No one tells us how many income support claimants there are, but this area must be growing daily. I was a shop owner of the Eighties, encouraged by the Conservative government to be adventurous, and now, after years of extreme hard work, I'm bankrupt - no home, no business, no nothing.

Now I need help from said government, I'm told I'm a 'scrounger'. I have worked all my life and paid a stamp. I would like to work, but with approaching four million in my position, what chance do I have (I am now 57 years old)? Most days I am optimistic, plotting and planning how best to spend my pounds 43.40 a week. But today I am not. I dislike being a member of 'the something-for-nothing' society - but how do I change this?

Sincerely,

MARY HOPKINS

Milton Abbas, Dorset

7 October

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