It’s pretty obvious that those workers least in fear of discrimination would be most comfortable surrendering rights against arbitrary dismissal, and those who felt most insecure least able to accept a package where part of their pay was conditional on surrender of employment rights (Osborne plans to give workers shares – if they give up job rights, 9 October). Disabled people would probably be the biggest losers, but it would be a gamble for any group that tends to face prejudice to accept the waiver against arbitrary dismissal. Obviously if you were friends with your boss, it would not be a concern.
Given the modal annual salary is about £15,000, and the mean about £30,000, to allow employers to offer discretionary pay of up to £50,000 to people not worried about being discriminated against would in effect mean the repeal of anti-discrimination legislation. The point of rights is that you don’t lose them if you’re too poor and vulnerable not to succumb to pressure to sign them away. Even for the Tories, this is shocking.
•?It’s not clear from your story (Osborne seals deal for £10bn welfare cuts, 8 October) whether the deal has been sealed, but if the Liberal Democrat leadership support further huge benefit cuts they will betray the Liberal heritage of Keynes, Beveridge, and the last half-century.
People receiving benefits – including those I represent on Pendle council in Lancashire – include most of the poorest in society. Many have low-paid jobs, many others would love to work if the jobs were there. They’re not too bothered how much tax the rich pay; weekly survival is more pressing. Linking taxing the rich more with cutting the incomes of the poorest has no logic to it and would be a dishonest political sleight of hand as an excuse for Lib Dem support for the Tories again ripping off the poor.
Liberal Democrat peer and councillor
•?Don’t be too quick to dismiss the prospect of further taxes on the rich by George Osborne (Editorial, 9 October). In a speech full of rhetoric but light on policy there were few specific announcements, but one was: “If there are other ways to increase revenue from the very top without damaging the enterprise economy, we will look for them.” Not taxing the rich till the pips squeak, perhaps, but almost certainly firing the starting gun in negotiations with the Lib Dems about a new tax regime for the wealthy.
Private Wealth Comms
•?Let me get this right. The government is cutting benefits, so crime will almost certainly increase as some look for ways to supplement their income. The government has cut funding for the police, so they are less able to protect us from crime. The government wants us to be free to use more violence to protect our homes from criminals and will change the law to allow this (Grayling goes back to basics, 9 October). Is this is what Cameron means by the “big society”?
Jeffrey R Butcher
•?Isn’t one of the duties of government to ensure the mentality of the lynch mob is kept in check? Germany’s experience of unfettered but targeted hatred in the 30s and 40s showed what happens when that duty is rejected. In the UK, making incitement to hate a criminal offence is one way we have tried to fulfil that duty. Cameron, Osborne and their henchmen are issuing licences to hate with every word they utter.
•?George Osborne wants to give a preferential tax regime for shale gas in the UK, while his Committee on Climate Change and UK companies call for a zero-carbon power sector by 2030 (Businesses back tough carbon target, 8 October). Can he tell us how this year’s energy bill will make these aims compatible? Green business is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK at a time of recession; why not invest in a sector we know is working for the UK and make us a world leader in renewables, rather than lock the UK into high-carbon infrastructure for a generation?
Senior adviser on climate change, Christian Aid
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