Saturday 13 June 2015.
Dear Mr Cameron,
We live in an age of assumptions. The problem with assumptions is we believe them because it is ‘we’ who made them up and they are the more difficult to dispel because of our personal attachment to them and any vested interests we have in maintaining them.
Iain Duncan Smith is the most dangerous man in Britain because he believes he is right, despite all evidence to the contrary, and is in a position to inflict his beliefs on the poorest and most vulnerable people in the UK and to reject anything that runs counter to his beliefs, including factual evidence. Smith’s attacks on welfare are not evidence based and he has created a narrative on benefit fraud and dependence out of all proportion to reality.
In an article for the Sunday Times in 2010 you wrote, “In the case of government there is one area of ingrained waste that out-ranks all others – welfare and tax credit fraud and error. This costs the government £5.2 billion a year. Many see it as a fact of British life that we have no hope of defeating. I passionately disagree. Simply shrugging our shoulders at benefit fraud is a luxury we can no longer afford.”
In fact government estimates for fraud and customer error across all benefits for 2010/11 was 1.6% costing £2.5 billion less £730 million recovered, so £1.77 billion. Not quite the same as your £5.2 billion, but whatever figure you want to use, fictitious or otherwise, does this really represent the one area of ingrained waste that out-ranks all others? HM Revenue and Customs own figures for 2010/11 estimate that £9 billion was lost purely through tax avoidance and evasion and £23 billion for a range of other reasons, but why let little facts like that get in the way of hounding and demonising benefit recipients? Clearly shrugging your shoulders at tax avoidance and evasion is fine and a luxury you are prepared to indulge.
On the 30 June the Independent Living Fund (ILF) which supports 18,000 of the most vulnerable disabled people is to be scrapped. The ILF is the difference between enabling severely disabled people to live an independent life and being forced to live in care against their will. That this is being done on false premises and the beliefs of a man incapable of telling or even acknowledging the truth amounts to little more than sadism especially given that your government is responsible for a propaganda war against all benefits recipients. In your Times article you said the next step for your “Spending Review is to identify the spending I’d describe as ‘acceptable in the good times, unaffordable in the bad times.’ To continue the business analogy, employee benefits like company cars might fall into that category.” Hmm, so much for benefits recipients and disabled people in particular enjoying the unaffordable luxury of being disabled. You might think we’re the unworthy poor, but that’s just a lie you tell yourself to justify sadistic cruelty.