Should we be rejoicing or mourning the change in pension tax relief?

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The Guardian asks the above question this morning and notes:

Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK doesn't think the changes go far enough to restrict tax relief: "This policy change reveals the value systems at the heart of this government. Support for the savings of the rich are worth as much as the well being of whole families unemployed through no fault of their own. At a time when national priorities have to be assessed and priorities for spending appraised, subsidising the pension saving of the rich — which form a major part of the total annual subsidy of at least £37bn given to the City via pension funds each year — are the wrong priority.

"We should be spending on growth, on helping families and ensuring all have the opportunity to work. Instead we are spending to allow a few to save considerable sums at cost to us all. This has to be wrong, and this pension tax relief for the rich should have been cut to the basic tax rate of 20% to ensure the richest in society do not benefit most at this time of supposed hardship for all — a claim that rings hollow in the light of this announcement."

The Telegraph meantime argues it will “hurt prudent savers”.

Oh come on! £50,000 is double national income. And as the Guardian notes today, almost one-fifth of seven-year-olds live in severe poverty — homes where the total income, including benefits, is less than £254 a week. The UK average income for a family with one child is a £563 a week, say researchers.

It’s time the Telegraph suffered a does of reality.