THE abolition of the 10p tax rate is one of the most visible differences between New and Old Labour. Under the Wilson government of the early 1970s Britain was also in difficult times, as we are now.

But then it wasn’t the poor that Labour hurt but the rich. How can any Government that is elected under the Labour banner punish the lowest-paid in our society in this way?

Over 5m low-paid, childless workers are going to be a fiver a week or more worse off at a time when utility bills, council tax, you name it has gone up.

Under the last Budget, Gordon Brown as Chancellor did help people with children. But surely this should not have been at the expense of one of the most vulnerable and poorly-paid groups in society? If the money had to come from somewhere then why not increase tax for the highest earners? They would have the means to afford it more than those at the bottom.

At least many backbenchers are standing up against this appalling measure; Labour's poll tax. I hope the Government has the decency to reverse this brutal act.

Robert Nicholls