Benefits for all

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I wonder why Peter Smaill (Letters, 25 February) thinks that the poor don’t benefit in “high-redistribution societies”.

It’s well known that some of our neighbours, for example Norway, are much more prosperous than the UK in general or Scotland in particular, and have greater equality, meaning that the poor are much better off than in this country. It’s extraordinary to assert that in such countries there is a ­“stifling of commercial creativity” and “an oppressive state mechanism”.

On the contrary, the likes of Norway have a much more ­impressive record of private sector economic development than we do, and it’s absurd to suggest that the country is other than a liberal democracy.

In contrast, the UK is characterised by the almost untrammelled authority we give our governments, which have invariably attracted the support of only a minority of the electorate but are free to enact oppressive legislation without any popular mandate, and of course to pursue economic policies which cannot be justified by any ­rational assessment of the public interest.

Andrew Anderson

Granton Road