New Internationalist

The real scroungers are the super-rich


Reverse Robin Hood: David Cameron’s rhetoric against welfare claimants has moved to a new level. Photo by Robin Hood Tax under a CC Licence.

You couldn’t make this stuff up. We have a government made up of public school-educated, millionaire toffs, who live on another planet to the rest of us, presiding over the dismantling of the welfare state while their rich friends avoid paying taxes to the tune of billions of pounds every year. ‘Legally’ of course.

Although David Cameron has moralized and finger-wagged over Jimmy Carr’s little scheme, he says nothing about the rest of the tax avoiders. Yet now, on top of the welfare cuts already imposed, our beloved leader (alleged to be ‘worth’ £30 million himself) plans to end the right of people under 25 to claim housing benefit, forcing thousands to live with their parents or on the streets.

This is an attempt to slash another £10 billion from welfare benefits – on top of the billions he has already grabbed. The proposals have been attacked by charities as being likely to lead to a significant rise in homelessness among the young. And the Coalition may also be about to means-test pensioners’ benefits such as cheap travel and the winter fuel allowance, even though they pledged not to.

Of course there are some who take advantage of the system – the so-called scroungers. But what they ‘siphon’ off each year is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the billions fiddled by the wealthy. No, the truth is, most of those in receipt of welfare desperately need the money.

The real scroungers are the super-rich who use every trick their expensive accountants can devise to avoid paying tax. If the rich paid their taxes like the rest of us, there would be no need to keep attacking the meagre incomes of those on benefits. But Cameron hones in on the poor and vulnerable because they are an easy target.

It’s not the fault of those who rely on welfare that the economy is in a mess. We all know who is to blame – tax evaded by the wealthy in the UK amounts to almost £70 billion a year – yet they are the ones left free to go on ripping-off the country.

We must demand an end to this injustice. We could stop the cuts and collect tax due instead. That way we all win.

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