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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.