Friday, 5 December 2008

Lie detecting

People in the Vale of Glamorgan and Flintshire claiming housing and council tax support are part of a pilot scheme which involves having their speech patterns analysed by lie detectors when claims are reviewed.

If more effort was put into trying to prevent tax dodging by the wealthy, then there would be a much greater gain for the public purse. Tax loopholes cost us billions. Previous attempts to clamp down on benefit fraud have cost considerably more than the funds that are recouped. Only in January this year we saw that anti-fraud schemes cost £154 million to operate but only £106 million in benefits had been recouped.

At the same time the Westminster government are closing offices and cutting jobs in HMRC, so even more people will be able to tax-dodge!


Michael Fogg said...

I think that you make a fair point about the 'high level' tax avoidance being a better way to raise more money for the public purse than reducing the amount of benefits 'dodging'.

However, surely there are two elements to this issue - firstly the fact that some people are operating illegally (those who you have referred to in your post, who may be caught out by the lie detector pilot), and secondly the fact that the wealthier classes can afford to find ways of legally avoiding paying tax.

Surely, both need to be addressed. However, you are quite right that to address the more intractible issue would provide the greater benefit to the Treasury.

rog said...

Michael Fogg
What about those who are genuinly ill and will be scared stiff about being interviewed let alone having a lie detector test.
Surely their hearts will be pounding and their minds confused especialy in an intimidating environment. What if the machine says they are lieing but it is just them being scared and frightened.