I’m pleased that aging night club owner Peter Stringfellow, 70, has attempted to hand back his “totally unnecessary” winter fuel payment. Mr Stringfellow, famous for his sartorial elegance (see here if you dare), has penned a letter to Iain Duncan Smith requesting whether he can return the last ten years of the allowance.
What this example shows is how absurd the British welfare system has become that it has enveloped so many individuals, including millionaire pensioners like Peter Stringfellow. Whilst he has quite sensibly proposed an opt-out to the system, anyone can return their unwanted allowance to the Department of Work and Pensions. Wealthy pensioners of Britain should unite and follow Stringfellow’s lead!
Similarly, if any there are any wealthy lefties out there agonising that they are not paying enough tax to the State, they can easily write a cheque to the Inland Revenue for an amount they deem appropriate. In the age of austerity, Chancellor Osborne would be extremely grateful.
Liberals were responsible for creating many welfare services with old age pensions and National Insurance schemes under the Campbell-Bannerman and Asquith administrations. But the welfare state has gone far beyond what many of the great liberals of the past envisaged. Today, Liberal Democrats should bear in mind what liberal economist Professor Alan Peacock once wrote,
“The true object of the welfare state, for a Liberal, is to teach people how to do without it.”