24 APRIL 1936, Page 21


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.]

Sut,—With reference to your excellent article in your issue of April 10th, I must ask your indulgence in the form of a correction of the statement that we, "The Over Forty- Fives Association, Ltd.," amongst other bodies, have pressed for the measure now before Parliament—namely, the demand for the Compulsory Insurance of persons whose earnings are upwards of £4430 per annum.

The fact is, so far as this Association is concerned, that we deprecate any such measure on the following grounds : 1. That compulsion in itself is seldom, if ever, satisfactory in its results.

2. That the more reasonable the salary the better able is the recipient to make his own provision against sickness and unemployment, and, too, on a much more economical basis than State Insurance provides.

8. That we see no radical difference between State Insurance and the operation of the Poor Law ; inter alia, inasmuch as whenever a person becomes entitled to a penny more than he himself subscribes for, he is thereby to that extent pauperised.

4. That it is economically unsound to tax industry without its receiving any compensating benefits ; and last, but not least, it very soon finds a way to pass on to the public (as indeed it must) by way of increased costs at least the amount, often more, than is represented by the tax. Therefore, we have the anomaly of all classes being penalised for the benefit of the few.

The hope of this organisation is one of self-help, and we only appeal to that section of the more fortunate public to subscribe by way of one shilling shares for the purposes of our general objects, and one pound shares in the activities of the Housing Society ; also by way of Loan Stock in either body. This capital so raised is to create work for our members, and there is every probability that we shall be enabled to pay a small dividend on these investments, which frees us from the taint of charity and materially assists in the re-instatement of middle-class, middle-aged men who have been displaced by the modern clamour for youth.

The writer will be very glad of the opportunity to explain more fully the aims and activities of the Association to any inquirer.—Yours very truly, WALTER BARKER (Hon. Organising Secretary).

The "Over Forty-Fives" Association,

89A C'heshain Street, Eaton Square, S.W.1.