The media likes to complain about how much welfare and benefits cost the British taxpayer, but they tend to neglect to mention that the figures they quote include contribution-based pensions.

For instance, in the middle of the decade the annual “welfare” cost was around £100 billion. Sounds big, right? Well, over £42 billion of this was contribution-based pension payments (you know, the kind you spend your life paying in to in the first place). £10 billion was benefits for the disabled. In progressively smaller amounts there was also child benefit, income support, housing benefits, and JSA.

At that same time, corporate tax avoidance cost the UK taxpayer £85 billion, and business fraud racked up a £14 million price tag. Government fraud in Whitehall cost us £5 billion, tobacco smuggling 3.5. VAT fraud on mobile phones, 2.5, and welfare fraud £2 billion.

So here we have another example of how the media and politicians distort the truth and attack the least able, rather than pointing their ire at the ones who really cost us the most money.

The government also hands out billions of pounds each year in “corporate welfare” via the Department for Trade and Industry, but we don’t hear a lot about that from the mainstream press, do we?

I’d also like to bring a letter to the Guardian to your attention.

Even though the government says that benefit fraud has been more than halved, it can’t resist grabbing a headline to ease through tough benefit changes which are unconnected (Lie detector tests to catch benefit cheats, December 3). If this wasn’t bad enough, in my experience as an expert witness in benefit fraud cases, most benefit fraud is exaggerated.

Investigations I have carried out for the courts at the request of defence lawyers have shown that the amounts allegedly defrauded are frequently nowhere near as great as alleged. I have exposed many cases with inflated allegations and cases where people are still entitled to the money which they are alleged to have fiddled.
Flawed evidence on benefit fraud