Name benefit recipients if you like – but only alongside all taxpayers’ details


I just received this as a comment from Samwise Gamgee, who is a frequent friend of this page. It’s too interesting to leave as a comment so I quote it here in full:

‘Why Osborne must publish the names of every benefits claimant – and how much we pay them: An incendiary idea to save on our £500m A DAY welfare bill’.

“It seems Mark Littlewood, Director General for the Institute of Economic Affairs, wants to name (but not shame, he assures us) everyone in receipt of state benefits, including pensioners. From the article –

‘The welfare benefits claimed by every individual – including pensions, jobseeker’s allowance, bus passes, winter fuel payments and child benefit – should be put in the public domain.

“‘They should be listed, in full, on a publicly accessible website for all of us to inspect. Taxpayers have a right to know exactly who is claiming what and how much they are getting.”

“This mad idea is needed because the welfare bill ‘is ballooning out of control’. So how would such a proposal help reduce the bill? Well Mr Littlewood is clear that this will not be about naming and shaming people, but he does say taxpayers are entitled to know where their money is going (and to whom).

“So draw your own conclusions. I certainly have!”

The logical reply to that is, if taxpayers are entitled to know where their money is going, then everyone should be entitled to know where it originated.

In other words, by all means publish names and details of benefit recipients but, before this happens, let’s see the names and details of all taxpayers, including total earnings per year (before any tax avoidance schemes get into them) and the total amount of tax they pay.

The findings should make very interesting reading.

But do you know what?

If publishing the latter list is a precondition of publishing the former, I doubt anything will happen about it.

40 thoughts on “Name benefit recipients if you like – but only alongside all taxpayers’ details

  1. sparaszczukster

    If Mr Littlewood is concerned about where taxpayers’ money is going maybe he should also insist on a list of companies who receive subsidies from government for one reason or another and those that are able to keep wages low because government subsidise this with working tax credits.

    1. Van Der Graf

      Heres some benefit recipients for you to kick start the list; Experian, the credit scoring firm made a £454m profit in the UK least year. They not only paid no tax, but received £159m in tax credits. They paid minus £159m in tax.

      Royal Sun Alliance, the insurer, made £613m in profits, paid no tax but received £8m in tax credits from the public purse.

      G4S, the private security firm which made a £279m profit last year by running prisons, the probation service and some police stations: paid no tax, but received £8m in tax credits.

      Vodafone, the telecommunications firm made a £9.5bn profit, paid no tax but received £4m from the tax payer in credits.

      Corporate benefit recipients.

  2. elaine4queen

    Good God.

    Actually, most of my friends are scandalized at how little I get, and I had the same reaction when I was quizzed by a Jobcentre employee a few years ago – under Labour they had a little go at putting Incapacity Benefit people back to work. I turned up with my CV and some medical letters, and she asked me why I wasn’t getting DLA. It was early on in the process, and I told her she should brace herself for plenty more where that came from.

  3. jane atkinson

    will they also make a list to show how much of the taxpayers money is paid to politicians for their expenses and subsidized meals. The taxpayer also has a right to see that

    1. macdhubhaig

      All MPs pay should also be available as that’s a benefit and also their expenses and what other benefits they’re claiming

  4. fuckthetories

    How about a list of landlords who receive financial support through the second mortgage scheme, the companies who have avoided paying corporation tax, the true cost of Thatcher’s funeral, the cost of the UK involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria, MP’s expenses fully published every year. The list is endless

  5. Andy Ohara

    Would like a Full list of all MPs, Lords, chief Execs, Board members, Bankers, Nobility earning from the new set to Care schemes as well as ATOs and G4s, Trust management. Now that would be worth reading!

  6. Big Bill

    Littlewood got absolutely hammered in the comments. So did Mark Hoban in his wildly inventive and obviously untrue piece in the Telegraph today. Even Daily Mail and Torygraph readers aren’t that thick it seems. You can go to the well one time too often 🙂

  7. Nightingals

    We are all taxpayers – every purchase, every unit of gas & electricity, that carries VAT makes one a taxpayer. I think the propaganda war is waged (pun) by people who think they are the only contributors because of income tax. Do they know that Incapacity Benefit is a taxable income?

    The type of filth in the original article – the sneering tone, the obvious intention of stirring “something” up (*innocent face* doesn’t mean innocent) – is hard to take for those of us who don’t read the DM, DE etc. I may need a wheelchair, but I am willing to stand up & be counted with those opposing these evil people and their evil hate agendas.

  8. Stella Thomas

    Don’t forget the Royal family, especially the ‘ hangers on’ who do NOTHING for their money. Do they pay tax?And what about ‘Grace and Favour ‘accommodation? I bet the occupants of these are never asked if they have a bedroom too many.

  9. Emma Lou Bain

    Oh yeh… so we can snoop for them because they can’t be bothered sorting it themselves? yeh right… how low do you think all of us are? sick really… i ain’t snooping on sod all for you, think what it’s like for teachers and lecturers right now getting so much paper work a lot of them are quitting because it’s too much and the ones that stay i thank you but you have to just deal with it like the rest of us government, no buts just do it.

  10. sharonfawcett

    why should people on benefits have their details made public so they can be called scroungers in the street too if the thats the case then why isnt the goverments wages put online so everyone can see what they earn at the taxpayers expense rather than victimizing people on benefits i know myself i dont get alot but why should i have to put up with been called a scrounger in the street aswell as been called that by this vile goverment that keeps picking on us

  11. sharonfawcett

    where is the sick, disable’s, pensioners and the rest of those on benefits human rights

  12. [email protected]

    stella thomas, the royals pay tax, they employ people, they bring in revenue to this country via tourists. what about the Princes Trust…. anyhow picking on the royals is not the answer, it is an easy one though for people with little intelligence to think. how about the fact many people work AND have benefits or they wouldnt survive. the mans an idiot, and this would be a serious breach of data protection

    1. Mike Sivier

      Okay, let’s also not pick on each other, please. The real enemy would get a huge kick out of seeing us berating each other for having ‘little intelligence’ and taking offence.

    2. kim

      Sorry, but i just have to say that the ‘Royal’s bringing in tourists’ argument is a little specious.

      1. Big Bill

        Indeed, it was relatively recently the Royals stopped speaking in their native tongue, German. Face it, the Royals ARE tourists 🙂

  13. sdbast

    Also could we have the names of all workfare providers as they are benefiting from taxpayer subsidised labour, and all shareholders in banks that have been bailed out by the British taxpayers including their earnings and dividends.

  14. Mike Sivier

    I have to say I’m having great fun reading all your suggestions. They go to show what can happen when a damned fool in a high position makes a damned fool suggestion.

  15. Nigel simmons

    We dont even know where the Government billions in waste go ,never mind snooping into Benefit Payments .Mark Littlewood wants to take a running jump – another Liar that thinks the people are totally stupid .How these people in positions justify their wages is beyond me .

  16. Samwise Gamgee

    Mr Littlewood has clearly lost it here it seems. A few lines fro the article…

    “This wouldn’t be a matter of ‘naming and shaming’ anyone. After all, if you are legally entitled to a particular benefit, what is there to be ashamed about? Anyone ashamed to claim money from the State maybe shouldn’t be claiming it.”

    He mentions benefit fraud, but we know deliberate benefit fraud accounts for less than 1% of the total welfare bill in the UK, with error on the part of claimants and the DWP accounting for a little more than that. So this is hardly about rooting out fraudsters, isnt’t it? Well, according to Mr Littlewood:

    “Publishing the data will clearly show that we now give payouts to people who don’t really need them – and for long periods of time.”

    So it might not be about ‘shaming’ people (according to him), so what is it then? Inviting people to make subjective judgements about their neighbours, encouraging them to draw their own conclusions about their health and fitness? But we needn’t worry about people putting 2 and 2 together and making 5, since according to Mr Littlewood:

    “Surely, no one needs to worry about violent retribution against claimants. The British are far too reasonable to start taking up pitchforks and burning torches and assaulting imagined benefit cheats. We are generous and fair-minded people.”

    Well thank heavens for that! All you people with conditions that are often difficult to discern at a glance, such as IBS, MS, etc, or conditions that can fluctuate on a daily basis, need not worry at all about people espying you out and about without a walking stick, realising you are ‘on the list’, and caling you a fraudster, because we have been assured this is not about shaming people, but about transparency. The British are all too reasonable and generous-minded to allow resentment of claimants to cloud their judgement, thankfully.

    So there would be no risk of people being abused in the street, or being victims of disability hate crime, because those things never happen, do they? And we have the assurances of Mr Littlewood so that’s alright isn’t it.

    The problem is, disabled people do suffer abuse, and it’s getting worse, and a policy like this, in the unlikely event it would ever happen, would expose our most vulnerable and isolated people to abuse, public shame, or worse.

  17. Nigel simmons

    Littlewood you half wit at the same time should there be a list of Tax deals between HMRC and Corporations .Goldman Scach’s having £20 million totally written off .Vodaphone negotiated their Tax Bill in 2010 down from £7 billion to £1.25 billion .They always say never take a good man off the tools ,now we know how you became a director .Watch Missing Millions @ and have a rethink on your invasive proposal .

  18. Steve Chapman

    What an excellent idea, then we will better be able to work out who isn’t claiming all that they are entitled to – apparently £11bn of benefits are underpaid this way… good thinking!

  19. ghost whistler

    How about we stop pussyfooting around with people like this. Littlewood is scum. He’s just saying what the tories are thinking. That’s his job. Fight fire with fire.

  20. guy fawkes

    What about putting all of these judgemental politicians in the stocks so that we can humiliate them.

    1. Troy

      Thanks for bringing that to our attention. From those comments, it seems like the tide of resentment is finally on the rise.

  21. macdhubhaig

    George Osbourne said the economy is out of intensive care (feckin Liar) and he is now looking at pensioners benefits. (How low can this man sink)

  22. kittysjones

    WHY is it always assumed that benefit claimants and tax payers are separate groups of people? They don’t make up 2 distinct groups of people at all.This is simply more divide and rule strategy from the Coalition.

    Most benefit claimants have in fact paid tax. Some of that tax and NI contribution has been paid towards their own benefit provision. This government has stolen that money from the public provision purse. Let’s see a list of beneficiaries from that theft. I want to know where my tax has gone. I also want to know where my benefits have gone. (“Reforms”=cuts). Although I do know that the millionaires got a tax cut totalling 107, 000 each per year. Let’s name and shame them, shall we? People who are happy enough to see the most vulnerable go without food, heating and a roof over their heads, and the reappearance of absolute poverty in Britain, just as long as they can have a tax cut at our expense.

    Let’s also have a list of beneficiaries from the privatisation of the NHS. Let’s name and shame the REAL corrupt and greedy bastards then.

  23. kittysjones

    Let’s name and shame these greedy pigs – “According to the Office for National Statistics, the average weekly bonus in the financial sector was £143 in April – a rise of 64.4 per cent compared with April 2012.

    The dramatic rise came against a background of falls in bonuses over the last year, suggesting recipients had been delaying collecting them to minimise the amount of tax paid on their windfalls.” –

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