Catch the small fish and the big fish will look after themselves
I wrote some of this a few years ago. I was reminded of it by the new DSS anti fraud posters. A campaign going on nearly ten years targeting dole fraud. This fraud goes into the millions.
During this time there has been absolutely no incentive by (any) government to targeting business fraud.
Businesses at any one time owes the country about £8 billion in outstanding tax
Sometime in 1996 after being dropped off by car at a warehouse near Dalmarnock in the East End of Glasgow. My business completed I decided to walk back to the West End. On the way I tried to spot some of the reference points of my youth. The old buildings, streets, factories conjured a mixture of nostalgia and sadness at the loss of so much of the community I had been brought up in. What was left was bland housing, factory units and acres of empty space
As I meandered through the streets, or where the streets used to be I kept coming across bill-posters sites sitting on vacant bits of ground. Some had the usual displays, cigarette ads, shampoo etc, But I soon noticed every second or third hoarding had a government poster, prompting the public to expose social security (SS) fraudsters. The posters gave a number and the promise of confidentiality. A big black posters with a phone number, ‘shop a fraudster’. A campaign discussed on TV , radio, and the newspapers and still running on and off on television and local radio. The message being:”Dole fraud, the ruin of the British economy”.
An important point to keep in mind. In the same month when Peter Lilly, the then chairman of the conservative party introduced the “tell on a dole fraudster” line. The government withdrew the social security help – line used to inform the public of what their rights were when making a Social Security, claim.
This was justified in a %25 cut the government made in social security spending – At the same time the government held £1.4 billion, in unclaimed social security benefits.
OK over the last eight years or so. The British government has spend millions of pounds of tax payers money on TV, radio, bill-posters and newspaper adverts. It spent hours, over weeks on media discussion and debate for the benefit of educating the public that – Social Security fraud is the main drain on the British tax payers purse.
The campaign started by the conservative government was seamlessly adopted without alteration by the labour party when it took office. The Labour government announced that it would prosecute individuals who wrongly attempted to obtain medicines without paying prescription charges. (a survey showed that it was cheaper to give medicines free, than to maintain the bureaucracy that processes the prescriptions)
Anyway, telephone hot-lines have been provided for people to inform on their neighbors who are working while claiming unemployment benefit. So hot-lines are ok. Help-lines, no-no.
So why does the government spend so much time and effort in trying to convince the population that Social Security fraud, is the biggest drain that there is on tax payer’s money? Go down to the local shopping mall and ask anyone. They will tell you:
” It’s these bastards collecting dole money and working at the same time, that’s the bloody problem”. The length and breadth of the country, we all know because we see it every day and the media constantly keep us informed of the fact. “That’s why the nursery places have been cut. You need to be a junky to get your kids into nursery now. Junkies and – bastards working and on the dole.”
The research I did for this stuff I am writing is from a few years ago I have not yet got around to doing an up-to-date search I have no doubt not much will have changed. Worse perhaps, as the government spends more of our monies on a fraud campaign, which ignores the biggest perpetrators of tax fraud.
Fraudulent claim ?
In a 1996 report from the National Audit Office, (NAO) false SS claims cost the tax payer £636 million. These sums are worked out in a worst case scenario over 1 year.
For instance if you are caught defrauding the social security and your benefit is £100 a week. Whether you have been claiming for 1 week, 1 month, or 10 months the statistics from the NAO will show a fraud of £5,000 which is what the claimant would be claiming over a whole year.(Child poverty action group)
The day after the “SS false claims” report above, from the same office, (National Audit Office) came the report of the £645 million over spent on military projects that were not completed on time. That’s £9 million up on the dole fraud.
This received a few paragraphs in the broadsheet press. (Webb)
In 1994 Gordon Foxley the ministry director in charge of ammunition buying was sentenced to four years in prison on twelve charges of receiving corrupt payments of totaling £1. 3 million ( The real amount is thought to be nearer £3.5 million). The MOD failed to gain access to his Swiss bank account. From 1985 to 1994 many millions were lost in the 191 cases of defense fraud that were discovered. The amount under investigation for 1993-94 the time Foxley was convicted was £22 million.(Webb) “The sums of money involved in the defense industry are huge.
There is an understandable tendency for the average reader’s eyes to glaze over when scanning the billions and millions. One billion is one thousand million (1,000,000,000). To put that into context the overall estimated cost of the UK Eurofighter program is over £16 billion (£16,000,000,000) at around £60 million (60,000,000) per aircraft. The cost of providing a typical district general hospital is around £90 million. To build and equip a normal comprehensive school for 1,000 children costs 9,000. The Conservative Government had decided to order 232 Eurofighter aircraft. Three years late and £1.49 billion over budget by 1997, the Eurofighter will cost the tax payer £16 billion, or £350 for every man, woman and child in the country”.(webb)
Before reading the next paragraph try considering business financial assistance as dole money – after all it comes out of the same peoples pockets as dole fraud.
“In (1999) While Labour prepares to squeeze benefits for the disabled, it is still doling out money to very able bodied corporations in “Regional selective assistance grants”. (RSAG- DSS get it) From banks to finance firms, from industries who slashed jobs after being privatized, to millionaire business men, have their noses deep in the tax payers trough, all are, “signing on”. Richard Caborn the 63 richest person in Britain (£325 m) whose firm went cap in hand (1999) to beg for and get £170,000 of regional assistance to “create” jobs and the same firm in 1998 was given £750,000 worth of regional assistance to “safeguard” jobs in the West Midlands. News international (owners of Sky) who have paid no corporation tax since 1985, but the Sky Subscribers Service Ltd of Bathgate received from the British tax payers £975,000 for “data processing” and in 1996 Harper Collins (News international) cadged £250,000 to save jobs in its printing operations in Glasgow. Among other giant firms pleading poverty are, Camelot Consortium (who run the lottery) £900,000 worth of benefits to stop sacking staff. Midland bank – in early 99 to set up shop in Lanarkshire £30,000,000. Norwich Union (Liverpool) early 99 £185,000. Clydesdale Bank in spring 99 also in Liverpool £200,000. Abbey National, £1,950,000 at the start of 1998. Scottish power slashed jobs after privatization, without shame the company asked for and received three quarters of a million pounds for “assistance” to “safeguard jobs” BT half a million one year £500,000 the next. Monsanto were awarded £1,428,000 for its plastics operation in Ayr at about the time Labour was elected”.(Private Eye)
The list goes on and on year after year multi nationals worth millions, with chairmen on salaries of hundreds of thousands of pounds, “signing on”, and pleading poverty.
The British tax payer subsidizes universities on research and development projects that if successful, the resulting technology moves straight into private ownership. If the research proves to be un commercial don’t worry the taxpayer still picks up that bill to.
The main aim of Government and business propaganda in their “dole fraud campaign” in 96 and still running is conditioning. The favored outcome of conditioning is emotion, that’s why the government spends so much time, money and effort in easy targets for emotion – junkies, single mothers, accused of skipping housing queues, dole fiddlers, anything that keeps the target at the low end of the fraud market. The anathema of business and government propaganda is rationality. Keep the poor fighting amongst themselves. Because if they even get a sniff of the extent to which the Government, line the pockets of directors, boards and shareholders of multi-nationals with their money. They would be rioting in the streets.
Far be it for me a tax payer to condone dole fraud. That is not my point here. If the government are looking to save taxpayers money from fraud, why start with small fry dole scroungers. Business at any one time owes billions of pounds in tax to the inland revenue. The Sun newspaper so eager and ready to condemn scroungers. refugees, pays little if nothing in corporate tax. And what if you do tell on a business fraud, you will probably be sacked for your efforts. (Quote from Private Eye) As Andrew Millar, sacked from British Biotech, (1998) who predicted that the trials of the companies anti-cancer “wonder drug” would fail and could cost the company about £30 million pounds, is being sued by the company for challenging things and bringing up his point of view.
In evidence to the Commons science and technology committee on 28 june 98 British Biotech former medical director Peter Lewis FRCP explained what was wrong with Andrew Millar, is. ” he is intelligent, ambitious and articulate. However he does not respect authority”. Authority in this respect is, keep your head down, shut up and you will receive your share of the spoils.
And the spoils are massive
The sums involved here is only a drop in the ocean in the vast sums of taxpayers money directed into the hands of business in boardrooms up and down the country. We should be promoting people in these (public sponsored) companies for their honesty and integrity not to mention their loss of earnings instead of rewarding the ones who respect “authority” and squander the publics hard earned cash on ill thought out programs doomed to failure. One is hard pushed to find many examples of this type of fraud in the main-stream media. And when you do it is usually tucked away in the business section. That is not to say it doesn’t get reported, it does in a very narrow sense but not a patch to the attention the media gives to dole fraud.
While an attempt is being made to protect us from robbery by the poor. The government offers no incentive, or advertising campaigns to expose fraud in big business. To understand why you have to go back to the abstract sums mentioned earlier, the millions and the billions, spent (by British tax payers) and the millions made by private companies and individuals in the British arms trade would be a good place to start. These sums make the obscenity of lottery wins seem like small change.
Upwards of one millions pounds commission on the sale of one jet fighter makes the recipients of such high profits lie to there back teeth to protect their share. And most of this business is carried out in secret. (under the official secrets act)
The dole fraud campaign bears a resemblance to the governments campaign on The war on Drugs. While most of the attention is given to ‘hard drugs’ which causes a couple of deaths a month. Alcohol which causes a drink related death every 15 minutes is hardly given anything like the same attention. But, then it follows.
The smackhead up the lane dying with a needle hanging from his vain with the drugs he bought with his fraudulent social security money, always makes a better graphic for the tabloid, and steers the reader well away from who is really robbing him or her blind
The Armour Plated Ostrich – Tim Webb
The hidden cost of Britain’s addiction to the arms trade