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?