Via Dave Osler at Liberal Conspiracy:
The trouble with working out with the radio on is that you cannot fully concentrate on what is being said. But as I was on my fourth set of bicep curls this morning, I heard something that nearly made me drop my dumbbells on my toes. Work and pensions minister Chris Grayling was debating some policy wonk from Demos on the Today Programme over the announcement that credit-checking agency Experian will be put on payment-by-results incentives to tackle benefit fraud. And either the wonk or the minister €“ I forget which €“ proclaimed that only 1% of benefit is fraudulently claimed. That’s right, just 1%. One sodding measly barely perceptible little per cent. Look, I’m from a working class background and had two longish spells on the dole as a younger man. I know damn well that people will play the system if they think they can get away with it. Full disclosure: I’ve even signed on while doing cash in hand jobs myself. You do what you’ve got to do to make ends meet.But 1%? Surely that can’t be right….Yet that 1% stat turns out to be entirely kosher, based as it is on government figures. That graphic is from here. The reality is that benefit fraud €“ while not morally commendable €“ is far, far less prevalent than anybody would reasonably expect, especially given the blanket media coverage of those who are caught out. The £1bn a year it costs the taxpayer is little more than small change in comparison with the £850bn spent on the bank bailout. That figure is one that everybody on the left should commit to memory ahead of the debates with the right that inevitably lie ahead.
I thought this was pretty interesting especially considering that of the 2.46 million unemployed in the UK, only 1.46 million are claiming JSA. That’s 1 million people not claiming the benefits that they have a right to.
Have a look the svg images here. This is from the touchstone (TUC think tank) blog. I’m pretty shocked by it to be honest. Its pretty clearly showing that where there is high unemployment relative to job vacancies Labour have seats, where there is low unemployment relative to vacancies the Tories have seats. Now I’m unsure what the exact relation here is, but I think its still pretty interesting. (It also runs against the beliefs that many of us on this blog have that questions of political representation are relatively unimportant.)