Magazine article The Spectator

Labour's Carrot and Stick

Magazine article The Spectator

Labour's Carrot and Stick

Article excerpt

Sir: The Spectator is right (Leading article, 13 December) to call not just for 'benefit claimants actually to do something for their handouts', but for a significant increase in the income tax threshold. There is little sense -- or fairness -- in trying to push people off benefits and into work if they are worse off in work than on benefits. In any case, there is something absurd in telling a man (or a single mother) that they are simultaneously poor enough to need benefits and rich enough to pay income tax.

The government's proposed measures to alleviate the economic mess they have helped to create will have a significant future cost in the burden of debt they will incur. It would surely make sense if they were tailored to end the vicious nonsense by which low-wage earners (making as little as £105 a week) suffer the loss of 20p tax, 11p National Insurance contributions and as much as 50p benefit on every extra pound they earn. …

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