Benefit fraud against HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions – DWP is rife, well that’s if you believe the media & poverty porn documentaries. But the government’s own figures show that’s a pack of lies.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs – HMRC and the Department for work and Pensions – DWP released their estimates of benefit fraud and payments made in error for the 2016/17 financial year.
The figures on benefit fraud AND their errors are somewhat smaller than we are usually led to believe.
HMRC said the total “level of error and fraud favouring the claimant” was £1.32bn which although this sounds high it is in-fact just 4.9% of the total tax credits bill.
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 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.
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.
The government has to crack down on tax avoidance and evasion. Leaks like the “Paradise & Panama Papers” show that the UK is failing at stopping tax evasion, be it in Crown Dependencies like the British Virgin Islands or at home here in the UK there is no appetite for them to do it.
I doubt that they will attempt a tax law overhaul but, it’s figures like those I’ve written about above thst highlight that Tory Britain is hostile towards anyone who isn’t in the money.