Fairness - Practical

We are the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We do not, on this basis, act prudentially for sectors of the community because of our personal position; so we cannot favour children because we have children, or elderly people because we are a carer or pay for our elderly parents' care.

It is our job to consider how we will allocate public expenditure. This practical exercise in allocation is a necessary precondition for both cutting and raising expenditure on particular items; so this exercise is not directly concerned with the recent Comprehensive Spending Review but should help us to think and talk about it as Christians. The size of the cake at our disposal is fixed already: we have agreed that raising taxes any further would dampen down recovery and lowering them would take public expenditure below its lowest level in the 38-42% normative range.

  1. How do we decide between universal and means tested welfare benefits?
  2. Should there be any such thing as a national minimum income and, if so, how should we set it?
  3. Is there a proper distinction between the 'deserving' and the 'undeserving' poor?
  4. How do we assess the social policy of enforcing employment and the policy of child rearing?
  5. How do we decide our top rate of tax?
  6. What are the comparative merits of inheritance tax and income tax?
  7. What are the comparative merits of direct tax and indirect tax?
  8. Are we going to cut Winter fuel allowance for the elderly or Family credit, and why?
  9. Are we going to place priority on primary, secondary, or higher education, and why?
  10. Finally, after all our discussions, given that defence spending is fixed, where would we alter the balance of other classes of expenditure? And why?

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