Middle class beneficiaries of welfare payments are a drag on reform

This year I have been in a rather unusual demographic – both entitled (I didn’t claim it) to a winter fuel allowance of £250 as an over-60 and receiving a Child Trust Fund payment of a similar £250 for having a new daughter. As somebody in a well-paid job there is no sense in which I “need” these untaxed benefits – personally I’d just prefer to pay £500 less tax. It would be less bother.

Len Shackleton is an Editorial and Research Fellow at the IEA and Professor of Economics at the University of Buckingham. He was previously Dean of the Royal Docks Business School at the University of East London and prior to that was Dean of the Westminster Business School. He has also taught at Queen Mary, University of London and worked as an economist in the Civil Service. His research interests are primarily in the economics of labour markets. He has worked with many think tanks, most closely with the Institute of Economic Affairs, where he is an Economics Fellow. He edits the journal Economic Affairs, which is co-published by the IEA and the University of Buckingham.