Benefits Island: Why Don’t We Have Programmes On Tax Cheats?

The Panama Papers, published today in an unprecedented data leak, confirmed once again that it is the super-rich and not the super-poor that are causing the real headache for Britain.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has been caught up in a $2 billion offshore trail and a raft of wealthy UK residents have also been implicated, including David Cameron’s father and three senior Tory figures.

UK tax fraud costs government £16 billion a year according to HMRC, which makes up almost half of the total £34bn “tax gap”, which is the difference between the revenue that should be collected each year and the amount actually received.

The cost of benefit fraud is a fraction of that, yet tomorrow night we won’t be sitting down to watch a programme exposing the numerous people named and shamed in the report, but rather Benefits By The Sea, a programme on Jaywick, one of the most deprived areas in the country.

There has been a plethora of benefit programmes rearing their ugly face on our TV screens. Benefit Busters, Benefits Britain, the Big Benefits Handout, Benefits Street to name just a few. But with newly-leaked documentation of people cheating the system out of countless millions of pounds, will we start publicly stringing up the avoiders in the same way we string up the claimers?


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