From the Child Poverty Action Group:
* Benefit fraud is at an all-time low, costing £1.1bn a year – less than 1% of claims.
* Overpayments cost £1.9bn a year
* £16bn goes unclaimed
* Tax fraud each year costs £15bn
Sir Peter Gershon, who is now advising Cameron on “efficiency savings”, provided the analysis that allowed the Tory proposal for scrapping most of the government’s planned national insurance increase, and told the Financial Times that up to 40,000 public-sector jobs would have to go. He also chairs General Healthcare Group, Britain’s largest private healthcare company.
A number of the business people signing up for the Tory anti-National Insurance increase letter – “including the bosses of mining group Xstrata, SAB Miller and Tullow Oil, have only small UK workforces, and so cannot claim their companies would be hard hit.”
Nice work if you can get it: “Matt Emmens, the chairman of Shire, the pharmaceuticals group, received £10m last year, even though he has only a part-time role”. Perhaps they could cut drug prices instead?
The proportion of MPs who went to comprehensive schools is likely to fall even further after 6 May: from 46% to 30%.
In the UK, the pregnancy rate among teenagers aged 15 to 19 years is 27 per 1,000. In the Netherlands, the pregnancy rate for teenagers of that age is five per 1,000. Both nations become sexually active at the same age, but while 85% in the Netherlands use contraception the first time they have intercourse, its 50% in the UK.
The UK ranks 17th in the league table of industrialised countries for the number of asylum applications per head of population (in a very powerful piece about the dreadful Yarl’s Wood detention centre.
And finally the best piece of comment I’ve read this weekend – Will Hutton on how business as usual just won’t do.