Letter: Welfare reform

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Welfare reform

Sir: It is amazing that Ken Jackson can so elaborate a condemnation of something that does not exist ("Welfare Reform? We really don't have any choice", 2 January).

He argues that Tony Blair is right not to defend the status quo, and he criticises those who do. Just who does defend it? No one to my knowledge. So why does Ken Jackson - and various ministers - imply that critics of the Government's handling of welfare reform are against all reforms and for the status quo?

It is one way of denigrating them. But the fact is that all of the critics I know, including myself, favour changes to the welfare state. I want it to be easier for disabled people who can work to do so. But any change should preserve benefit levels for those who have no prospect of work - and that includes most disabled people. Ken Jackson should have given us his opinion on that.

Lord ASHLEY of STOKE

House of Lords

London SW1

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