The Spectator

Letters | 3 March 2012

Pension scheming

Sir: As a pensions professional who has witnessed his once-mighty industry’s sustaining of blow after blow, I was heartened to read The Spectator’s call for Conservatives to resist the temptation to make ‘yet another raid on pension funds’ (Leading article, 25 February).
The government’s lack of understanding of pensions tax relief was revealed in the Chief Secretary to the Treasury’s reported comment on how much ‘we spend’ on higher-rate relief on pension contributions. The government is not ‘spending’ at all; the contributor is simply being allowed to retain more of his own money, as a reward for putting some away for exposure to future taxation.
Zachary Gallagher

Sir: Your leading article was spot on. Let’s raise the tax allowance to £10,000 but not by mounting yet another damaging raid on pensions. There are cuts that can easily be implemented with the grain of existing policies: drive government cuts over three not four years; force half of councils to outsource basic services long outsourced by the sensible half; don’t offer final salary pensions for anyone new joining the public sector. The ‘top 1 per cent’ within the public sector should accept a 5 per cent pay cut as an incentive to drive deficit reduction.
Tony Devenish
Superannuation Committee
Westminster City Council, London SW1

Impending divorce

Sir: Unless Conservatives risk imminent coalition break-up (‘Irreconcilable differences’, 25 February) by adopting necessary economic growth policies, they risk electoral suicide. Growth requires global competitiveness. It necessitates first lowering the top tax rate to 40 per cent immediately and capital gains taxes commensurately, to encourage entrepreneurs to invest in Britain (and substantially increase tax revenues). Second, the repeal of excessive and ill-founded regulations, including all restrictive EU regulations, even if it means leaving the EU. These measures should be vigorously defended as overwhelmingly in the public interest and the best way to create viable, sustainable jobs.

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