Friday, 3 September 2010

Benefit Fraud vs Tax Cheats

I picked the following from the comments on an article in the Guardian by Peter Beresford: The Victorians knew a thing or two about benefit cheats. The leader says "David Cameron promised an uncompromising clampdown on benefit fraud, but what does this actually mean for communities?" and the article compares the actuality of the Victorian workhouse system to the rhetoric of the ConDem evil axis.

RosemaryUK comments...

Reform of the benefit system is needed, no one can deny that but not one where 'punishment' and sanctions' are used to 'threaten' disabled people.

As regards fraud...

Annual Benefit fraud estimate £5.2bn
Annual Tax fraud estimate £70bn

Spending on Tax evasion PR/advertising : £633,000
Spending on benefit fraud PR/advertising : £17.5 million
(both figures exclude VAT)
Figures from Hansard.

If any political party had any real morals , they would have condemned this 'campaign' by some media outlets that is raging against those on benefits.

Yes. A few of us have made the same point, though I admit I got it from the Now Show on BBC Radio 4. Another figure to compare is the £150bn that we spend over what is earned in tax. That is to say that is tax fraud were tackled with the same enthusiasm it would make a good contribution to reducing the deficit. Attacking benefit fraud is unlikely to make much difference, though it should of course be tackled. I've said before the noise is Cameron trying to make good with the Tory faithful who think he's a useless cunt who lost a sure thing election against a lame duck Labour government. The noise is out of proportion to the good that he can do - especially on the eve of making massive cuts that will result in 1000's of civil servants being made redundant.

One thing that would make a big difference would be to pursue the well known tax cheat Tony Blair our former Prime Minister who has tied his financial affairs up in such knots that it is very difficult to say for sure what happens to the tens of millions of money coming in from advising foreign investors, and giving lectures, and more recently setting up a bank for the super-rich. See here for instance: Tony Blair under pressure to explain if he is avoiding UK taxes. (Telegraph 3.9.10) and here: The mystery of Tony Blair's finances (Guardian 1.12.09). A good strong example might send a message about social responsibility to the rest of the rich who try to keep from making their contribution to society.

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