Brit Dee, Contributor
HM Revenue and Customs, the UK government’s tax and customs department, has been accused of encouraging schoolkids to report tax evaders in their local area.
The allegation relates to a document available on the HMRC website, used as a ‘Citizenship’ module in schools to teach kids why they should become responsible taxpayers.
Page 2 of the Key Stage 4 lesson plan, designed for use by 14 to 16 year olds, involves a classroom discussion in which students debate “whether it is good to pay the tax we do, considering the benefits we receive. If it is good, then why do people try not to pay?”
The teacher must then ask what students “think of those who refuse to pay tax or try and defraud the benefits system? Can they think of any example they may have heard of in their local area?”
The independent thinktank Civitas, an institute for the study of civil society, has described the lesson as reminiscent of George Orwell’s novel 1984, in which kids snoop on their parents and report them to Big Brother. Civitas’ David Green said, “People ‘in their local area’ are most likely to be parents or close relatives. Turning children into state spies is un-British.”