Benefit fraud against HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is rife, well that’s if you believe media & poverty porn documentaries. But the government’s own figures show that’s a pack of lies.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) released its estimates of benefit fraud and payments made in error, for Working and Child Tax Credits for the 2016/17 financial year.
The figures on benefit fraud AND their own errors, are somewhat smaller than we are usually led to believe.
More is lost because of their incompetence than fraud
Look at the figures in detail and they debunk the benefit scrounger claim even more.
- Errors favouring the claimant was £1.05bn; 3.9% of the total tax credits bill.
- Fraud favouring the claimant was £280m; 1% of the total tax credits bill.
So fraud accounts for just 1% of money paid in error. £1.05bn is the HMRC’s own fault!
DWP figures tell a similar story
Like the HMRC, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also makes estimates fraud and error payments.
Its most recent estimate shows that overpayments to claimants in the 2017/18 financial year were £3.8bn which is 2.1% of the total bill. Break it down like the HMRC figures and it’s a similar story.
- 1.2% (£2.1bn) of this claimant fraud.
- 0.9% (£1.7bn) was their own fault!
It’s utter hypocrisy that they label benefit claimants as cheats when they can’t keep their own shop in order.
Tax avoidance dwarfs it all
HMRC estimated the amount of tax avoided, evaded, or unpaid by people and companies in the 2015/16 financial year was £34bn although, the Tax Justice Network and PCS estimate put this much higher at around £120bn.
Even at the HMRC’S lowest estimate, more was lost in tax in one year, than lost by the HMRC & DWP to benefit fraud and errors in five years.
This is absolutely ridiculous and just underpins the message that the rich get off with anything.
Small businesses and individual tax payers face huge penalties whilst huge companies can settle for pennies in the pound. This must end.
The whole reason I sent my original tweet about my life on Universal Credit, was because I was sick of seeing people claim all benefit claimants are playing the system.
These figures just confirm that is not the case even remotely. We are living in abject poverty and destitution. Yet we are always the target of hostilities.
The government has to crack down on tax avoidance and evasion. Leaks like the “Paradise and Panama Papers,” show that the UK is failing at stopping tax evasion and avoidance, be it in Crown Dependencies like the British Virgin Islands or at home here in the UK, they have no appetite to stop it. Why? Because they themselves have a need to keep things hidden away.
While they may not be breaking the law using tax havens, it doesn’t look good if they are seen to be avoiding paying tax in the country they are attempting to run.
I doubt that they will but chase more tax dodgers or tighten the UK’s tax laws up.
But the figures like those I’ve written about above, just highlight Tory Britain is hostile towards anyone who isn’t in the money, and will try at all costs to make the most vulnerable pay.
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