Letters: Welfare Cuts

Welfare cuts help the rich

Share
Related Topics

Iain Duncan Smith's announcement about benefit sanctions ("Jobless who refuse work will lose benefits for up to three years", 11 November) is only one of a whole raft of cuts that will affect the poorest.

At the same time, the Coalition scares us with the possibility of a mass exodus of high-earners if we try to claw back any money from them, and fails to point out that the multi-national corporations are the real scroungers, as most avoid paying taxes while the Government continues to subsidise them by keeping corporation taxes low. We are being held to ransom even though roughly three-quarters of the budget deficit is lost in tax avoidance by corporations each year.

Iain Duncan Smith has proudly declared this the greatest shake-up of the welfare system since the Beveridge reforms. He's right. The system of welfare support that my parents were entitled to is being taken back so that we can subsidise the rich.

Mark Murton

Wallington, Surrey

IDS's proposals to have the "unemployed" working for their allowance will run into problems. They won't be the unemployed any more. Won't they tend to put those already in work out of work?

I'd encourage those worried about these rather gung-ho ideas of the minister to bide their time. It'll all get watered down as Coalition MPs learn how much it's going to cost. And speaking of the Coalition, I sense the Lib Dems will disappear off the map at the next general election.

The saddest thing is that the Government is doing one of the oldest, shabbiest things in the history of human organisation: attack the vulnerable and blame the victim.

Christopher Vowles

Lydbury North, Shropshire

I understand what happens when someone refuses to turn up for work offered. But how many times do they have to be sacked before their benefit is withdrawn?

"I'm doing my best." Who decides when that is true and when a lie? And how? The new system may well offer people who want to work a much-needed opportunity to do so and that's great. It is doomed to failure with those who don't: many of whom have proved that they are highly resourceful at exploiting any system.

I see the appeals and tribunal industry eating into any savings on this one.

Keith Farman

St Albans, Hertfordshire

Students' day of hope hijacked

I was in London on Wednesday to meet a friend at Somerset House. On leaving Holborn underground station, walking down Kingsway, I could hear drums, whistles and shouting ahead. As I entered the Strand I met the protest march coming towards me. Faced by the large crowd of chanting, banner-waving students I felt a twinge of fear but this left me as we passed each other. They were open-faced, enthusiastic and passionate young people with a message.

Later in the day I found myself again walking with the protesters. This time just in twos and threes, banners furled, hurrying to catch their transport home.

On the train from Liverpool Street to Stowmarket I got talking to a young man who had been on the march.

"It was brilliant," he said. There was a moment when he had raised his arm and issued a rallying call – it had been followed by a huge cheer from the crowd behind him. His image was already on the web page of a newspaper.

But then the anarchists had arrived – swearing, fighting, using violence and ruining everything, hooded and hiding their faces. Where were the press cameras pointing now? Just take a look at the front page of Thursday's Independent.

I felt very sorry for him and the many thousands of students who came to London to protest peacefully. I ask your readers to look beyond the thugs and violence to the hopes and aspirations that may be dashed when government policies are implemented.

Mary Payne

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Can we please stop calling the protesters at 30 Millbank anarchists? Though black and red flags were flown from the roof, most of the crowd that I saw on the ground appeared to be simply students expressing understandable anger at policies with no electoral mandate.

It is hard to condone those acts of violence which endangered life, but you do not need to be an anarchist to understand why young people might resort to direct action when electoral politics have so patently failed to represent the will of the voters.

Dr Liam Connell

University of Winchester

It is good to know that Alex from Worcestershire, the 16-year-old protester, who opined that "This is fucking annoying ... People are really pissed off" (report, 11 November) was "very well spoken" . Around here we find it makes such a difference.

Mike Smith

Worcester

Against war on Poppy Day

As I'm sure D J Taylor really knows ("Still we remember", 11 November), it is not physical courage that pacifists find barbarous, but the organised mass killing of our fellow human beings which is an integral part of war.

It is indeed disturbing that contemporary society seems to be eroding our community spirit and promoting selfish individualism. What is needed, however, since both our wars and our consumption now have the potential for global destruction, is not national pride and solidarity, but concern for humanity itself. We are not Britons fighting Germany (or Argentina, or Iraq), but people, whose enemies include greed, intolerance and militarism.

We should certainly honour the fallen, and respect the courage, physical and moral, of our armed forces. But we should not abuse that courage by sending them to risk their lives, and destroy the lives of others, in unnecessary and illegal wars.

Sue Gilmurray

Chair, Movement for the Abolition of War

Ely, Cambridgeshire

I am Hungarian, and in the Great War my ancestors fought on the side of the Central Powers. We lost the war and as a consequence we lost 75 per cent of our territory. In spite of this historical grievance, on Remembrance Day I wear a poppy because I recognise the wartime sacrifices of the armed forces and civilians regardless of their nationality.

I also do so because I respect my adopted country, the United Kingdom, and its generous people who have shared with me their precious freedoms which have been and are protected by British soldiers. Those who were burning poppies on Thursday and obviously cannot accept these rights and liberties perhaps ought to be reminded that they are not prevented from leaving the country they so much hate.

Miklós Cseszneky de Milvány

Spalding, Lincolnshire

Security insanity at the airport

As a fan of the Howard Jacobson column in the Saturday Independent my wife frequently reads me the best lines. I usually approve.

Last Saturday, while waiting at Faro airport, I had the opportunity to read the entire column on airport security. I acknowledge his opinion that we should all do as we are told (even when that means my wife taking off her sandals while I walk through wearing "cowboy boots") but draw the line at his remark about the toothpick holder. On 30 October at Belfast International airport I had my pound coin holder (which I have carried and explained the contents of at numerous airports over the last quarter-century) taken from me. Howard's toothpick holder may resemble a bullet; my pound coin holder is vaguely like a shotgun cartridge. However, it could have contained nothing except the 10 pound coins I removed from it when asked.

Thirty-five years of experiencing pseudo-security in Northern Ireland did not prepare me for this. Is the world now a safer place?

Perhaps Mr Jacobson would accept that people who "do what they are told" may be pushed too far?

Thomas B Cole

Carryduff, Co Down,

Northern Ireland

Idiotic joke about stoning

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt; Gareth Compton may not be a racist when he says it would be a blessing if Yasmin Alibhai-Brown were stoned to death. However, contrary to what Yasmin herself writes (12 November), he is an idiot, and he is certainly not a gentleman.

Sue Berry

Huddersfield

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in her comment (12 November) should have taken more care than to write: "We are in a post-Jeremy Clarkson universe, where men think they can only be men if they insult people." Some men maybe, all men certainly not.

Hugh Burchard

Bristol

The moment some twit opens his mouth and declares an intention to blow up the world or eat the Pope, some overbearing official with no sense of the difference between wishes and plans decides to prosecute. It's like being at airport security every day of the week. Will everyone please calm down?

Cole Davis

London NW2

Stormy weather

Your weather forecast for "gentle winds" in Northern Ireland today (11 November) rather missed its mark, unlike the tree which fell on my car in Co Fermanagh this afternoon.

Tom Wilmot

Ballyshannon, Co Donegal,

Ireland

I'm not sure if it's just me, but didn't we seem to have better weather before the Coalition formed the present government?

Mike Allaway

Eastbourne, east Sussex

Perspectives on Clegg and compromises

Give the policy a chance to work

Like Johann Hari ("Clegg, the man who betrayed us all", 12 November) I also went to Cambridge University from a working-class background. In my case it was in the early 1960s, when only a few institutions offered degree courses, compared with the massive number today.

I had what was called a full county council grant, which just about covered me in term time but which I needed to supplement with paid work during the rather long holidays.

A decision was taken many years ago to expand the university system and to offer more places to students who, in my day, would never have dreamed of further study. I applaud this. However, to finance such an expansion purely out of state funds must always have been unsustainable in the long run, and particularly in the present economic climate.

I am a Lib Dem councillor. If I had been standing for election to Parliament last summer, there is no way I would have given a hostage to fortune by signing a pledge not to increase fees for university students under any circumstances.

As regards Mr Hari's comment about Nick Clegg's betrayal of his principles, I would advise him to wait and see whether or not the present strategy will work. I don't particularly like what is happening, but something has got to be done to get us out of the mess, so let's roll up our sleeves and try to make it work instead of whingeing on the sidelines.

John Marriott

Lincoln

No excuses: he has let us all down

I had begun to think that nobody cared; that the swingeing cuts – too soon, too deep – were going to be accepted without a whimper. Students and young people have shown us that they do care very much, and so they should. They and we were sold a line during the May election that without deep and swift cuts "our grandchildren" would still be paying off the deficit in years to come. No one said it would be our children (and the poor) now.

While no one condones violence or damage to property, I do understand just how let down our young people must feel, having voted for Clegg only to find that once in power he was only too ready to break a pledge. Clegg let us down; feeble excuses won't cut it. I'm sure the electorate of South Yorkshire will understand only too well too.

Elizabeth Chell

Lyndhurst, Hampshire

How much regret?

Now that Nick Clegg "regrets" making promises before the election, should he not be honourable and step down so that he can seek re-election?

Mark Kermode

Liverpool

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

I don't blame parents who move to get their child into a good school

Chris Blackhurst
William Hague, addresses delegates at the Conservative party conference for the last time in his political career in Birmingham  

It’s only natural for politicians like William Hague to end up as journalists

Simon Kelner
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference