Benefits freebies

Douglas Turner (Letters, November 17) confirms that he has no case to make in support of universal benefits.

Instead, he repeats his assertions about “brutal austerity” and “far-right ideology”. An independent Scottish government would have a different strategy, he claims. Would that include continuing to hand out freebies to people who can well afford to pay for them, I wonder?

Where in the political spectrum do such policies place the current government – not on the far left, I think. I share Mr Turner’s concern for the poor but fail to see how hand-outs to the affluent address the problem.

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When he does tangentially address the issue of universal benefits, Mr Turner’s suggested remedy that people who disagree with them could pay for them is naive. I would guess that the redistribution of wealth is a principle Mr Turner supports.

In that context I believe universal benefits tend to be counter productive. Whether I, or other individuals, have the integrity or not to make a voluntary payment for a universal benefit is going to make little difference in the great scheme of things.

In the real world, the vast majority of people will simply not pay for something which the government tells them they are entitled to have for nothing. If the lot of the poor is to be changed, this can only be achieved by government policy and not wishful thinking.

Colin Hamilton

Braid Hills Avenue

Edinburgh