Sir: A few years ago, in a parliamentary question, I asked the minister if he appreciated that while no one could approve of social security fraud, a much larger return might be secured from investigation of tax evasion than of social security cheating. The reply was interesting in the light of your reference to Conservative responses to your inquiries concerning links with tax advice businesses ('MPs who face taxing questions'; leading article, 20 December). He said I should appreciate that the social security cheat was stealing public money while the tax evader was simply trying to keep his own.
The response was not widely reported, but it does illustrate the paradox that loyal supporters of the present Government appear to have a high regard for those who do not wish to make the contributions to society for which they themselves have voted. The bee will buzz when it is diverted from its honey pot.
MP for Wentworth (Lab)
House of Commons