Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/643/10446
Osborne mugs poor to pay for rich
HAVING MUGGED the public with £83 billion of cuts in public spending (to plug the budget deficit caused by bailing out the failed banking system), millionaire chancellor George Osborne has, hypocritically, rounded on alleged benefit fraudsters, accusing them of 'mugging taxpayers'.
While identifying an estimated £1.5 billion in benefit and tax credit fraud, Osborne failed to mention any measures the government will implement to resolve the estimated £16 billion in means-tested benefits and tax credits that currently goes unclaimed every year.
According to Citizens Advice: "Up to three million households are missing out on an average £13 a week in council tax benefit, while as many as 1.7 million pensioners are missing out on an average of £31 a week in pension credit."
Applying for means-tested benefit is complicated and many are discouraged from claiming.
While speaking out against benefit fraud, Osborne is also silent over the estimated £120 billion that is lost to government income through tax avoidance, evasion or uncollected taxes. Collecting this enormous sum has been made more difficult by the government sacking 25,000 tax workers and closing 200 tax offices. Osborne may also be reticent to pursue these billions as several high profile Tory backers are 'non-dom' tax dodgers.
Prime minister David Cameron recently announced that Experian - a profit-making company - will get a 'bounty' for each person that it identifies as defrauding on benefit payments. Such a system is open to abuse as Experian has a financial incentive to throw accusations at people.
In The Socialist 20 October 2010:
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