Live to see the day

I never thought I would live to see the day when I would agree with Keith Newbery, but his piece on child benefits (January 17) proved me wrong.

For more than a year now, I have been in correspondence with various Treasury ministers, through our local MP Andrew Tyrie, in terms almost identical to those expressed by Mr Newbery.

Perhaps foolishly, I thought if the contradictions in their policy of child benefit reform were pointed out to these ministers, they would see the error of their ways.

It seemed to me a policy which had the effect of maintaining entitlement to the benefit for a family with MORE household income than their neighbour who would lose entitlement was crazy and a contradiction of the purposes behind all benefits.

Throughout this lengthy correspondence, Andrew Tyrie was conscientious and patient in approaching the ministers on my behalf.

Sadly, the ministers themselves gave every sign of being detached from reality.

A repeated assertion in their replies was to insist the changes to benefit entitlement which have the above effect were ‘fair’; thereby demonstrating a firm grasp of Orwellian ‘New Speak’ in which the patently unfair becomes ‘fair’ by repeated usage.

The blindingly-obvious was brushed aside and I was left beating my head against a brick wall.

I also, as did Mr Newbery, pointed out the attack on ‘family values’ which the changes represent.

A full-time mum can find her children being deprived of the benefit, while a household in which the mum works can continue with the entitlement.

These arguments too were met with the same brick wall.

Whether this laughable policy, which pleases no-one, is a result of the confusion and compromise of coalition government, as Mr Newbery suggests, I can’t say.

What it does do is to bring into deep disrepute all those involved and to drive another nail into the credibility of British politics.

G Williams

Mill Lane