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Posted by Richard Thursday, December 10, 2009

One can quite understand the focus on the pre-budget report in the media today, with the news of the chancellor's £7 billion "tax raid on jobs" getting plenty of coverage.

Inevitably, though – as we suggested yesterday – the concern is classic short-termism, highlighting the issues of the day – which is, of course, exactly what you expect the media to do.

However, while we fret over such sums, considerably less attention is given to even greater raids on our pockets, not least the £18 billion annually the government estimates as the cost of dealing with "climate change".

Then there is the £6.5 billion spent on our EU contributions (soon to go up), the £5 billion plus that we are to spend on the Afghan war next year, the £1 billion a year we are apparently to pledge to less developed countries to help the pay for climate change, to say nothing of the near-billion we give to India each year in aid (I had to get that one in).

That is already the better part of £30 billion, and there is much more low-hanging fruit that could so easily be pruned. Concern, it seems, is always so very highly selective.

Another of these invisible "hits" the taxpayer takes is VAT fraud and, in a piece today in The Daily Scarygraph we see the conjunction of one fraud – carbon credits – with that hardy perennial .

We brought this up in September, when reassuring noises were being made, to the effect that the problem had been contained, yet now we hear from Europol, delivering a paper to the Copenhagen summit that Carbon trading fraudsters may have pocketed €5bn (£4.5bn) in their various scams.

They may, in fact, have accounted for up to 90 percent f all market activity in some European countries, mainly in Britain, France, Spain, Denmark and Holland. Rob Wainwright, the director of serious crime squad, is saying that large-scale organised criminal activity has "endangered the credibility" of the current carbon trading system.

Given that the credibility of the system is already shot to pieces with the legal scams, or would be if it was being reported correctly, this should be the last straw – but of course it will not be.

But the point we keep making on this is real money, money that comes out of our pockets – taken indiscriminately from little old ladies, the poor, the unemployed and the rich alike. This is real money and they are robbing us blind.

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