Hang on. Word has got to me that David I-went-to-Eton-but-I’m-not-a-toff Cameron has decided his government needs to prioritise tackling benefit fraud. But guess what? Tax evasion costs the Treasury fifteen times more:
At £30 billion per year, fraud in the UK is more than twice as high as thought, with tax evasion costing the public purse over £15 billion per year and benefit fraud just over £1 billion.
Based predominantly on 2008 data, the National Fraud Authority’s first ever Annual Fraud Indicator found fraud against the public sector accounts for 58% of the total fraud in the UK per year.
Tax evasion is around 3% of total tax liabilities, while benefit fraud accounts for 0.8% of total benefit expenditure.
Of course this is the Prime Minister who insists that the ‘savage’ cuts he’s introducing aren’t ideological. Considering they are going to hit the poorest the hardest, it’s quite telling that he should decide not to bother tackling the tax evasion of the rich. Does the Treasury not need their money or is something else going on? Of course the answer is ‘yes’ – he’s learned he needs to abide by the compact John Kampfner details in his book ‘Freedom for Sale’ – do what you like, just don’t piss off the middle classes. They’ll tolerate all sorts of nonsense as long as it doesn’t affect them directly – Blair/Brown knew this in their authoritarian project, and Cameron’s applying just their logic to his own project:
We’re looking at every option – including tougher penalties for fraud, taking more people to court and more encouragement for people who know fraud is taking place to come forward.
But second, I also want modern technology focused on stopping these people.
That means more debt retrieval, more information sharing and more use of things such as credit referencing agencies to identify cases where circumstances just don’t match the claim being made.
There are, quite rightly, rules about data protection, but that doesn’t mean putting up with fraud.
Banks and utility companies use available data to check whether people are being honest about their circumstances.
Government should do the same. We owe it to you as taxpayers to make more use of this technology to protect your hard-earned money from fraudsters.
Not everyone agrees though and he’s not telling the whole story:
The companies will check details of benefits payments against records of household spending to identify people suspected of fiddling the system. Investigators could receive a “bounty” for everyone they catch as the Government attempts to claw back the £1.5bn lost each year to benefit fraudsters.
In the face of protests, Mr Cameron insisted honest people had nothing to fear from the proposed tactics.
If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear? Now where have I heard that line before?
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