Letter in the Daily Telegraph by Professor Philip Booth

Sir – Since late Victorian times, there has been more and more state control of the institutions of welfare – health, education and so on. After 100 years, increasing numbers of people, including some politicians, are finally recognising that this strategy has failed, but governments still respond to the failure of state control with “more intervention” and attempts at “better intervention”.

Encouraged in part by the adverse impact that government institutions of welfare have had on the family, Margaret Hodge (News, Nov 26) seems set to deepen the state’s direct involvement in family life. As this strategy fails, there will be successive calls for “more intervention” and “better intervention” to address the damage that is caused by government in the first place. I hope there are politicians who will fight now for the principle that the state should be the servant of the people. We cannot wait 100 years for the tide to be turned.

Prof Philip, Booth Institute of Economic Affairs, London SW1