Trust Hon Gid to come out with a phrase like “benefit cheats are muggers”. Such is the intellectual and philosophical vacuum at the heart of the Conservative party that they have to equate ‘welfare cheats’ with violent crime. With a penchant for histrionics, Gid let fly on Sky News,
“You’re leaving the house at seven in the morning or whatever to go to work and paying your taxes – and then the person down the street is defrauding the welfare system.
“This money is paid through our taxes which is meant to be going to the most vulnerable in our society, not into the pockets of criminals.”
Yet while Osborne talked of going after ‘benefit cheats’ his government has practically granted immunity to millionaire tax cheats. Sir Philip Green, the chairman of the Arcadia group that owns Top Shop was hired by the government as its waste czar. But Green is a massive tax dodger as this Observer article from 2005 says,
The business empire of retail billionaire Philip Green is mostly held in the name of his wife, Tina, who is resident in Monaco. Taveta Investments, the vehicle used to acquire Arcadia in 2002, paid out a hefty £460m to its owner last year. Green, who spends much of his time in Britain, would have been landed with a £150m tax bill if he owned Taveta; as it is held by his wife, a minuscule amount of tax is due.
When pressed, the government has said that it intends to pursue tax cheats but something tells me that they’re not telling the truth: many of these tax cheats donate generously to the Tory Party. Lord Ashcroft, for example, has avoided paying tax for years and will no doubt continue to do so. He also has the country of Belize in his back pocket. The Tories are hardly likely to bite the hand that feeds, they are more likely to depict the most vulnerable as being capable of acts of extreme fiscal violence.