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David Willetts last took part in a Prospect roundtable in 1998 a few months after Labour’s crushing victory. In a debate about the future of welfare the then Tory shadow minister coined the term “the progressive dilemma.” This is what he said: “The basis on which you can extract large amounts of money in taxation, and pay it out in benefits, is that most people think that benefit recipients are people like themselves facing difficulties which they too could face. If values become more diverse, lifestyles more differentiated, it is harder to sustain the legitimacy of a universal, risk-pooling welfare…

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