My attention was drawn to The ONS Paper on Income and Wealth and the figures for tax credits in Table 2 on "Sources of total weekly household income by ettnic group". This shows that Tax Credits account for 1 - 2% of the income of White, Mixed, Indian or Chinese ethnic origan but 10% of those of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin. This group also derives a further 13% of household income from other benefits compared to 5% for those of Chinese origin and 4% for those of Indian origin. The Pakistani skills in working the UK tax and benfit system are well-honed. Back in Autumn 1968 I declined a job as a trainee Tax Inspector in Catford, partly because I was told I would spend my days explaining to Pakistanis that they could not claim a tax credit if they had never paid any tax. [The other reason was that the DP Manager for STC Microwave and Line gave me a 10% pay rise].
P.S. The ONS table should also help open the eye of those who say that immigrants are either a blessing or a curse. Indian and Chinese households appear to derive a smaller proportion of their income from benefits that any other other group - including the indigenous whites. Indeed the only group to derive a smaller proportion of their earnings from wages and salaries than the indigenous whites are the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.
Those who come here to acquire skills and work are nearly always a blessing.
Those who come here to live off crime and welfare ...
The issue is how to tell the difference.
The answer is to use cross departmental data matching - including with Local Government, Law Enforcement and the private sector personal information sources which now cover most of the world (helping the global financial services industries unravel on-line and other fraud). That requires, however, information analysis skills (not just technology) which have been sorely neglected across Whitehall in recent years. More-over that situation looks set to rapidly deteriorate unless urgent action is taken to sort out the way in which the Civil Service Learning Framework has led to a collapse of departmental staff development and training plans. The benfits can,however, be measured in £billions, perhaps even the £tens of billions needed to help get public spending under control without penalising those who deserve help.