Letter: The poor do not deserve this

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ALTHOUGH no one can doubt Frank Field's commitment to the establishment of a more decent society, his remedies are too narrowly focused ("The poison in the welfare state", 14 May). Instead of highlighting the adverse impact of growing social divisions, the jettisoning of full employment, the lack of opportunity for young people, and the inadequacies of family support measures, he chooses to concentrate on the inappropriate behaviour of the poor and what he believes are rampant levels of benefit fraud.

His solution - self-interested social collectivism for the middle classes and remoralising programmes for the poor - is untenable as it will do little to bridge the social divide. What is required is a raft of policy measures, including high-quality training packages, carers' allowances and a fairer tax scheme, which would permit the better-off to demonstrate their commitment to the common good.

Robert M Page

School of Social Studies

The University of Nottingham