Letter: Not Beveridge

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The Independent Online
Do you seriously argue that having to borrow an extra pounds 6,000 against uncertain future earnings will not be a deterrent to potential students from low-income families ("A high degree of privilege", 27 July)? A less well publicised regressive decision by the Government is to limit back payments of all benefits (including pensions) to one month, and even then only in case of sickness. From now on, if someone fails to put in the right form at the right time - even if misled by the DSS officials, many of whom do not understand the byzantine regulations - they cannot recover benefits to which they are entitled.

So far, new Labour has gone even further than the Conservatives in aggravating relative poverty, in raiding everyone's pension fund, and in undermining the principle of contributory social security.

Graham Hallett