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Tax, NI benefits and altruism

So Richard Mowbray thinks Margaret Hodge is left wing (Letters, November 17).

Is he having a laugh? He writes: "It is the duty of us all to avoid paying tax."

My brother retired from work at the age of 50 on an index-linked private sector pension, but continued to pay his National Insurance stamp towards his state pension. At the age of 55 he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. He continued to pay his stamp until his death at the age of 58. When I asked why he was continuing to pay, he replied that other people would get the benefit as he had no hope of ever reaching 65. This altruism seems beyond the grasp of Mr Mowbray but then my brother was a "leftie", unlike the people so described by him.

Myra Gartshore,

Barloan Place,

Dumbarton.

Richard Mowbray boasts that he has always arranged his affairs to pay as little tax as he possibly can. As a humble employee on PAYE I have always been denied this opportunity. Like many millions of others, tax is taken directly from my wages, by my employer, on behalf of the government before I even see it. Perhaps Mr Mowbray might advise me how to arrange my affairs to avoid this?

David Clark,

Wrights Toll Cottage,

Tarbolton.

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