Strange title I admit.. Had a “delightful” conversation on Twitter this morning with @Obotheclown who certainly lives up to his name : ) We were “discussing” tax-evasion and the “undeserving poor”.. That phrase, “the undeserving poor” rang a bell with me but I couldn’t place it at the time, I ll come back to it in a bit.
My argument was that tax-evasion costs our country £15 BILLION per year, whilst “benefit thieves” cost just over £1 BILLION per year (source) . George Osborne has announced measures to clamp down on these “thieves” , including a £50 fine if they are found to be claiming illegally. I very much doubt that will have much impact, although if caught three times they will cut the “thieves” benefits for 3 years as well. Fantastic! *applause*, that’ll teach the blighter’s.. erm, to burgle, mug, rob.. ? And what will become of their children? Send them into foster care as their parents can’t afford to feed and clothe them? Not especially well thought out Mr Osborne.. no change there then.
In order to wheedle out these “no-good, thieving, low-lives”, they are firstly putting incapacity claimants through new tests in a project being piloted in Burnley and Aberdeen, due to be rolled out to the rest of the UK next April. The aim is to get people who can work off the benefits and onto another benefit.. Job Seekers Allowance, which pays less. The Work Capability Test which they will face is costly and has a history of mis-diagnosing the ability to work, 70% of appeals against negative decisions are upheld.
Which brings me to the point of this post (yes, there is one) .. who are worse? The “undeserving poor” or the “tax-evaders”? According to my chum Obo, the “undeserving poor” are.. but I wonder, how did this myth originate? I have a theory and I lay the blame squarely at the door of one Mr David Jason.. tax evasion is “cool”, to be admired, clap that man on the back… “Del Boy” is a national hero!
Whilst Vicky Pollard and Wayne and Waynetta Slob are despised, ridiculed and much maligned on our TV’s, David Jason’s Pop Larkin is a cheeky, charming tax dodger with four TV’s and a Roll’s Royce. Little Britain even showed their wheelchair user Andy as a benefit thief! The only “undeserving poor” person portrayed on television that I could think of to refute this myth is the fantastic Stanley Holloway… what do you think?