…and people believe it
…or so goes the old saying.
In the case of welfare ‘reforms’ the sad truth is that Joe Public do believe the lies such as fraud is rife when it only accounts for 0.7% or put another way 99.3% of benefits paid is not fraudulently claimed. 0.7% of a welfare benefit bill of £160bn per year is still £1.12 billion pounds and a huge figure and is still too much of course. Yet this government admits for example that up to £6.9bn per year of Housing Benefit is known to be due but not claimed.
So all benefit fraud is 0.7% of the total welfare budget yet HB unclaimed alone represents 4.3% of the entire budget!
It is not alone as a benefit either. Take Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit which this government admits in 2010 figures sees a total of £8.4bn per year unclaimed. Thats 5.25% of the entire current welfare bill unclaimed by the strivers, or as they used to be called the ‘hardworking families’
Working Tax Credit having £8.4bn unclaimed is informative for a number of reasons.
- Firstly, WTC is only payable to those in work and you have to be in work to receive it
- Secondly, that means WTC is only received by strivers / hardworking families.
- Thirdly, this government KNOWINGLY withholds monies due to strivers and the morality of that especially when the coalition couch welfare and tax as moral issues is never challenged by the opposition
- Fourthly, WTC/CTC knowingly underpaid as just one ‘benefit’ accounts for 7 times the amount underpaid as of all overall benefit fraud
- Fifthly, when Universal Credit – THE flagship coalition welfare reform – begins this year it has a one-stop-shop process of assessing all claimants for all benefits. This means that all claimants will get all benefits they are entitled to. Yet just HB at £6.9bn and WTC/CTC at £8.4bn alone will see the overall welfare benefit bill rise by over £15bn per year! The welfare bill will increase by almost ten per cent.
Yet what is even sadder is that the political opposition have been outflanked and sucked into a false debate and Labour are strategically naive and throwing away a real advantage they have by not recognising it. The welfare reforms of this coalition will cost more to the public purse not less yet they are not being discussed.
In short we have inept governing by the coalition in raising the costs of welfare and just as inept opposition for not pointing that out.
Today the benefit uprating bill will be discussed and it has attracted huge column inches in the press as well as all other forms of media coverage. Yet the issue is the uprating of welfare benefits and not welfare benefits themselves or the wider welfare reforms but merely how much welfare benefits will be increased by over the next 3 years.
When this is passed as it will be the coalition will be saying to Joe Public that they have reduce welfare spend. That is correct but incredibly superficial. What they will have achieved is reduce the amount the welfare benefit bill increases and is set to increase as a direct result of their inept welfare reform policies. They have stopped the additional £15bn per year or 9.4% increase to the welfare spend they have added from increasing further. That is just from 2 ‘benefits’ and will increase further with the non take-up of all other welfare benefits being added to it. Then you can add on the £2bn to £3.1bn cost (figures vary) of just the IT system being introduced to administer the conjoining of the benefit and the tax system.
Yet we have an opposition that doesn’t see this and one which doesn’t even mention it!! Instead it has been sucked into a ‘fairness’ argument that Joe Public will and do simply see as Labour defending scroungers and layabouts. Ineptitude writ large!