Laurie Penny is on cracking form in the current New Statesman, paragraph after paragraph of sensational sanity about benefits and taxes. It will appear on her blog in due course, I guess (here) but for now you need to get a print copy and read it.
One of the key points she makes is one that has been made by Access All Areas, a new Conservative ginger group that aims to connect the tories with working class voters, especially in the north. It is simply this: benefits are high because wages are low. Taxpayers are subsidising the appallingly low wages paid by hugely profitable companies (who are often avoiding paying their share of corporate taxes.
If every employer paid the living wage, the tax credits bill would fall by two-thirds to three-quarters and the housing benefit bill would plummet. More than 50% of housing benefit is paid to people in work but paid so badly, they need the state's support to pay their bills.
It is also absurd, as Penny points out, to pit taxpayers against benefit recipients as everyone who shops pays VAT and excise duty depending on what they are buying; so we are all taxpayers in one way or another.
The social security system undoubtedly needs reforming. But part of those reforms include setting much higher minimum wages and curtailing tax breaks to the exceedingly wealthy.