Tories don’t seem to understand or care

So Iain Duncan Smith thinks he could survive on £53 a week? He almost certainly could for one week for the cameras – which is more than can be said for his colleague Nadine Dorries, who, when supposedly “roughing it” for two days on Channel 4’s Tower Block of Commons revealed she had hidden money in her underwear – but I doubt he’d be able to last for more than a month.

This is beside the point, though, and a distraction from the fact that Conservative MPs don’t care about reducing the deficit or improving people’s chances; they’re simply looting the state for all they can get before they get kicked out.

Their plan is working, but economic recovery isn’t their plan. Luckily for them, because they’re privatising the NHS by the back door and have protected the corrupt bankers, accountants and tax-avoiding firms who caused and are still exacerbating this mess, there will be lots of high-paying jobs for them to walk straight into, and it won’t matter how badly they do them.

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Nicholas Johnston

Edinburgh

Since the post-war start of start of the welfare state, a vast edifice of public entitlements has emerged which now serves as an altar for clerics, the bien pensantand the Left.

It expanded exponentially when Gordon Brown, believing he had conquered boom and bust, created a client state of public sector workers and benefit dependants.

To the delight of Brown’s former team, the Eds Balls and Miliband, it is clear that Chancellor George Osborne is failing to get the benefits toothpaste back into the tube. Strikes are threatened, but the fact is that the cost of index-linked public sector pensions is out of control and hoovers up some £150 billion of the total spend of £700bn.

Whoever inherits the 
poisoned chalice in 2015 will need to make the British 
accept some serious restraint in public spending and 
en-titlements – and that will be a neat trick!

(Dr) John Cameron

St Andrew

For many of the most deprived in our society April Fool’s Day played the cruel joke of a 14 per cent loss in housing benefit for those in social housing should they have a spare bedroom.

Two or more spare bedrooms and they will lose 25 per cent under the so-called “bedroom tax”.

Some 660,000 households will be affected by the changes, each losing an average of £14 a week and saving less than £500 million.

This Saturday, in contrast, anyone earning £1m will be at least £42,295 better off, with the reduction in the 50p tax band.

While George Osborne said this was worth next to nothing, in reality it is actually worth £1.31bn, just slightly less than three times the value of the housing benefit cut. Once you work out the effect of threshold changes, the numbers earning more than £1m will achieve cuts of about £100,000 a head.

Something has gone profoundly wrong in our society when the most vulnerable are punished to deliver tax cuts for the wealthiest.

Alex Orr

Edinburgh

It seems that the latest effort to penalise claimants who have a spare bedroom is doomed before it starts and will end in complete failure to release homes for larger families, but will only serve to add more pain and hardship for those in need.

The better alternative would have been to release substantial funds for a national housebuilding programme creating much needed work for our construction industry and creating employment in particular for younger people caught in this long-term recession.

Dennis Grattan

Aberdeen