Given the dire straits of the NHS, it occurred to me to do some research.

The government clearly no longer regards people in general worth investing in and this is reflected in its callous attitude towards the disadvantaged; notwithstanding the fact that the first thing on even a Tory’s agenda is to invest hugely in his own children.

A survey by City AM last year predicted that “a total of £82bn would be paid out in dividends in 2016 and that the £2 trillion threshold would be broken within the next 10 years. On average, British companies return £325m to investors each day”. 

By paying themselves shares and thus receiving dividends, directors have avoided both themselves and their companies paying National Insurance contributions. 

They have also encouraged their staff into self-employment to let their companies ‘off the NI hook’.

There is now a huge amount of income being paid out as dividends to re-invest in shares if desired or as an income completely free of any obligation to pay National Insurance on the proceeds. Total dividends have doubled in the last 15 years.

It appears to me that the best way to resurrect our country from the ravages of greed would be to exact NI contributions of 10% from the companies paying them and 10% from the individuals collecting them deducted at source. This would cost both parties less than they would pay by actually being paid salaries by their employers but would still bring in an essential £20 billion a year.

Let’s turn to the problem of having an older and asset-rich sector of the community which contributes very little to the state’s problems, notably the sick, poor, jobless and in-debt youngsters.

If the above charges on the NI ‘avoiders’ were instituted, how could we, the ‘comfortably-off oldies’ possibly object to 10% of our private pensions being deducted at source as a vital NI contribution?

Mike Joslin