HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Places » International » United Kingdom (Group) » Mhairi Black: Ask why doe...

Sat Nov 7, 2015, 07:42 AM

Mhairi Black: Ask why does TV attack benefit claimants – but not tax evasion?

IT seems like every mainstream television channel these days has indulged in “poverty porn”, where they produce programmes focusing on those who rely on benefits. Usually, but not always, the focus of such programmes is on those who are abusing the benefits system.


According to Age UK, pensioners are missing out on £5.5 billion of income-related benefits every year, vital income that could help many pensioners from facing the annual fear of winter and the choice whether to “eat or heat”. This includes 1.58 million pensioners failing to claim Pension Credit to which they are entitled and 2.23 million pensioners failing to claim the council tax benefit which they are due. Just imagine how many winter deaths could be avoided, particularly in this age group, if there was a real campaign to promote entitlement to all benefits.

The Ipsos Mori survey found that the take-up rate on some benefits was around 70 per cent. Compare that to the actual fraud of 0.7 per cent. The real issue isn’t so much benefit fraud – although that does need addressed – but the lack of any decent campaign to make sure that everyone who is on benefits gets all that they are entitled to.


The media prefer to make the public focus on those claiming benefits. Yet the scale of tax avoidance within the UK dwarfs the level of benefit fraud. According to the UK Government, tax evasion is around £35 billion per year but, according to a report commissioned by the union PCS and researched by Tax Research Associates, tax evasion in the UK in 2014 was around £119.4bn. This report complains that the UK Government’s figures massively underestimate the issue and use accounting sleight of hand to diminish the actual problem. However, the chances of collecting this money are diminishing as the UK Government are on schedule to decrease staffing within HMRC by 43 per cent over 10 years.

Full article here: http://www.thenational.scot/comment/mhairi-black-ask-why-does-tv-attack-benefit-claimants-but-not-tax-evasion.9705?

3 replies, 1155 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 3 replies Author Time Post
Reply Mhairi Black: Ask why does TV attack benefit claimants – but not tax evasion? (Original post)
Denzil_DC Nov 2015 OP
Ironing Man Nov 2015 #1
Denzil_DC Nov 2015 #2
T_i_B Nov 2015 #3

Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Sat Nov 7, 2015, 10:53 AM

1. ...

the practical answer is that its pretty easy for a production company to turn up to some sink estate, ask people if they mind being filmed, and then write the commentary later.

turn up to a golf club - for example - and ask people if they'd talk about fiddling the self-assesment return while being filmed, and i rather doubt the members would be all that receptive.

that said, i used to be married to a Tax inspector, and one of their juciest targets was the 'Cotswold life' type magazines. considerablyricherthanyeeouw-type idiots would get themselves and their 'lovely homes' in the rag, talk about what schools their childre went to, how many carribean holidays they went on, and what their business turnover was while telling HMRC that they earnt £3.20 a year.

oh how i laughed...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Ironing Man (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 7, 2015, 11:04 AM

2. Heh. I've heard similar stories about braggers coming croppers before.

There are even bigger fry than those that I think the article's calling attention to, though.

One other explanation that may go some way to answering Mhairi Black's question concerns the questionable - if not necessarily illegal - tax practices of many of those in the upper echelons of TV and production companies!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Ironing Man (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 8, 2015, 06:24 AM

3. I've seen this at first hand

Last edited Sat Nov 14, 2015, 05:14 AM - Edit history (2)

As I've previously said in another thread, I work in a deprived area of Sheffield, and I have had a TV producer bowl up in my office once asking if I would like to take on a methadone addict as a cleaner for one of these TV shows. The offer was politely but firmly refused.


It's not difficult for poverty porn TV producers to find desperate people in bad circumstances willing to take part.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread