Letter: Social Justice: crucial progress from Beveridge, but leading where?

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The Independent Online
Sir: Although many of the Commission on Social Justice's reported aims and policy suggestions are laudable, it suffers from one serious flaw. It pins its hopes on investing in people by generating enough money from a high productivity, competitive-traded sector. What it fails to recognise is that in today's globalised economy there is cheap labour, but highly skilled workforces, in countries such as India, China and some Asian Tigers that are likely increasingly to dominate such markets. This will leave us with neither the jobs nor sufficient revenue to pay for its suggested changes.

Social expenditure, however worthy, is being squeezed in countries all over the world in their pursuit of international competitiveness.

This situation will worsen if and when the Gatt Uruguay Round is ratified, with its further reduction in countries' abilities to protect themselves against these global trends. It's a mystery to us how the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, who are supporters of much of the Commission's findings, can at the same time support the Gatt, the very mechanism that will render the former's aims largely unattainable.

Yours sincerely, COLIN HINES TIM LANG Twickenham, Middlesex