Daily Express

Peter Hil lBY


WHAT possessed George Osborne to contemplat­e yet another raid on our pensions? It was either madness or a cunning plot. The Chancellor has dropped the plan to remove tax relief from pension contributi­ons, which would have been the final blow to what is left of private pensions, after pressure from Tory MPs. But was it ever a serious considerat­ion?

I suspect it was a pre- Budget scam. Leak the idea to the press, wait for the predictabl­e outcry then relent. Instead of being a villain, Osborne emerges as a hero especially if, as predicted, he hands out a “bonus” by raising the level at which the top rate of tax applies.

What he should do but won’t is cut that top rate, although that would make perfect sense. A study discovered that reducing the top rate from 50 to 45 per cent brought in an extra £ 8billion for the Treasury because people were less inclined to avoid paying.

The rate was 40 per cent for most years of the Labour government and everything suggests the tax take would increase again if we went back to that or better still even less.

Apparently Osborne and his boss David Cameron won’t entertain such a move in case it suggests the Tories are only for the rich. But the rich can move their money around – it’s always the middle earners on PAYE who pay the bulk of tax. They deserve a proper bonus. qTHE

student campaign against imperialis­t statues is spreading. After their attempt to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes ended in failure, hundreds of students are preparing to redouble the protest this week, joined by others demanding the toppling of more hated figures, including Queen Victoria.

If statues are the best targets they can come up with it only proves that students have very little to complain about. Running around carrying placards might be more stimulatin­g than writing essays but it won’t impress potential employers when the inconvenie­nt time arrives to find a job.

In years to come these students might reflect that they are behaving little differentl­y from Islamic State vandals who are tearing down historic sites. Haven’t they learned that history can’t be changed however much you abhor it? qTHE

process of choosing a Republican candidate for the American presidenti­al election has hit a new low with one rival suggesting that Donald Trump’s manhood might be a little on the short side if the size of his hands is anything to go by.

Trump has fallen for the insult, holding up his mitts at a rally and asking: “Are they small hands? I guarantee you there is no problem.”

He has no need to worry since he remains the runaway leader in the campaign but the fact that he takes such a childish slur seriously does make you wonder. Next they will claim he has got Hitler’s problem. You know, only having one… qHOUSEHOLD­S

could save £ 75 a year and Britain would need fewer new power stations if we would only use dishwasher­s and washing machines overnight when there is low demand for electricit­y, according to the National Infrastruc­ture Commission, chaired by Lord Adonis.

The good Lord and his colleagues have obviously never done the washing, otherwise they would know that if clothes are left in the machine until the following day they come out smelling musty and have to be done again.

When I do the washing I make sure to hang it up to dry as soon as it is finished, unlike someone else in our household who shall be nameless. They know who they are. qI

WENT for a coffee the other day and ended up buying a chair. It was a ridiculous price for something made in 1965 and showing signs of a hard life but I just had to have it. My family think I am daft but they don’t know how lucky they are. While having a coffee at another place last week I was flicking through a magazine I found there and saw this glorious Art Deco house for sale overlookin­g a lovely cove in Cornwall. Naturally I wanted to buy it immediatel­y but then realised I couldn’t afford it. So the good news, folks, is we won’t be moving. qONLY

in politicall­y correct Britain could this happen: 140 hard- line imams are acting as Muslim chaplains in our prisons, all apparently appointed by adviser Ahtsham Ali.

Under the noses of the prison authoritie­s Mr Ali oversaw the hiring of devotees of Deobandi Islam, a bleak interpreta­tion that condemns everything we hold dear.

So we have an army of militant preachers going around prisons telling people convicted of terrorism- related offences – people who already hate us – that they should hate us even more.

Why do we have to pay imams to minister to prisoners? Is there an obligation to cater for any and every minority religion, even if it is against our way of life? If so things are much worse than you could have dreamed possible. qSOME

time ago I wrote how my wife and I had given money to a poor young man who left a pack of tissues on our train seat along with a note saying he had two children to care for.

Now I read that there is an epidemic of tissue begging on the transport system with hundreds of mainly foreigners perpetrati­ng such con tricks. It is emotional blackmail because most people want to believe the best in others. These scammers are giving honest beggars a bad name.

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