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Greens are naive in criticism of welfare reforms

The criticisms of the Government's Welfare Reform Bill made by Ross Brown of the Green Party (Write Back, March 9) are misguided and not constructive.

Firstly, the Government's new welfare contract will eventually save money but in the short term, it will actually cost more to implement.

Secondly, Mr Brown's contention that the UK can keep piling on debt without grave consequences is not supported by serious economics, or by any of the important, international financial organisations.

It's ironic that, although he wants to point the finger at Conservatives for the financial crisis, it was his namesake, Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who presided over that disaster, with exactly the gung-ho attitude to sensible lending and addiction to ruinous debt which the Green Party appears to advocate.

Thirdly, the idea that social mobility is best sustained by a bloated benefits culture is simply wrong. The Conservative Party's policy, supported by our Lib Dem partners, is that the vulnerable should always be protected, but that benefits should begin to be seen primarily as a hand-up, rather than a hand-out.

STEVE McILWRATH

Northern Ireland Conservatives

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