Letter: Welfare victims

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Sir: The only welfare reforms that will "work" are those based on the deep sense of fairness God has implanted in each human being made in his image. We all know we are born with very different "life chances". The main reason that our political leaders have got to where they are is because they inherited, through no merit of their own, natures and nurtures which have ensured rich pickings for them from the educational, cultural and employment cake. It is nonsense to suppose that they have "earned" their success. Let's stop pretending that if only we all tried a little harder we could all make it in the way they have.

Those of us who happen to have inherited ambitious stable parents, decent education, middle-class competitive values and the virtual certainty of being employed in good work should view them as national assets (like North Sea oil) from which all should benefit. Those of us who have been given much cannot avoid the obligation to share it generously with others via the fairest system available, namely a level of personal taxation and redistribution that ensures a fair and decent quality of life for all. None of this prevents appropriate welfare reform so that money is wisely spent and genuine waste reduced.

Any other system, including compulsory private provision by the well- off, will in the end be seen to be unfair with disastrous consequences for social cohesion.

The Rev CHRIS BRICE

Director, Christian Action and Response in Society

Diocese of London

London SW1

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