Benefits fraud: £10bn in nearly a decade. Tax fraud: £70bn a year.

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From this morning’s Guardian letter’s page:

The secretary of state for work and pensions uses his office to exaggerate the small amount of benefit fraud (Report, 31 December). He claims the benefit system “is out of control and unfair for hard-working taxpayers who have lost £10bn due to illicit claimants and fraudsters”. That needs some qualification. The Office of National Statistics shows that 0.7% of total benefit expenditure was overpaid as a result of fraud in 2011-12 among the 5.9m working age benefit claimants and the 10.6m state pensioners.
Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty

Paul is right.

Of course there is fraud in the benefits system: there’s fraud in any system. But the fraud rate runs at less than 1%, which is quite amazingly good.

Tax fraud in the UK, on the other hand, might cost £70 billion a year.

IDS chooses to ignore that. But he would, wouldn’t he?