The Government has announced a significant change to the Nobility Living Allowance eligibility criteria which could mean literally eleven aristocratic families lose the benefit.
Changes being introduced will mean that new applicants to the scheme will need to prove their inability to perform tasks that the general public can do quite easily, such as playing golf at the same time as untitled people, breathing without braying or snorting, or picking up their children from school without help.
The NLA was intended to assist those members of the upper classes who have difficulty accessing their money. Anthony Farquar-Smythe, a barrister and recipient of the benefit, explains: “there are many people who, although on the surface appear to managing, are actually experiencing real difficulty with liquidity. I’ve known cases where people’s money has been tied up in long-term bonds, for example, who experience real hardship when the gardener suggests he ought be paid at least 80% of the minimum wage.”
“Other families have their money tied up in overseas property, or invest in art, or wine, and you know it’s just not that easy to pay for a new Jag with a case of 1990 Chateau Latour Pauillac, even if it does leave a delectable lingering berry aftertaste. This could mean many people are effectively made prisoners in one of their own homes.”
Other differences will mean that every claimant will have the right to a nobility scooter, although an Ipsos-Mori survey has shown that 134% of respondents don’t feel that allowing drunk toffs access to an unlicensed vehicle will make them feel safer in the streets.
The coalition government claims the changes will make the benefit more progressive and fairer, but then they always do.