All benefits should be universal

You can’t talk about the benefits system unless you mention taxes too. Both have become so complicated that fiddling with one has unpredictable consequences for the other. The only sensible solution is for all benefits to be universal, regardless of income, and for redistribution to be confined to the tax side.

Politicians are woefully inconsistent on the subject. In this month’s conference season we heard Lib-Dem, Tory and Labour people all calling for various benefits to be scrapped for the rich (bus passes, free tuition, you name it). But do they then think that free healthcare and education should be means tested? Meanwhile those who defend the freebies are equally inconsistent. Do they think we should all get housing benefit?

I describe my version of a universal ‘minimum income’ here in The Scotsman

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