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Archive for July 11th, 2011

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Cheats warned of benefit fraud

 

The Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC have announced that a new taskforce will be introduced on 25th July 2011 to target benefit fraud from “postcode to postcode”.  Claimants who admit any wrongdoing before the Mobile Regional Taskforce (MRT) catches up with them will be forced to repay monies owed to HMRC, however, those caught by the MRT will face stern punishment through fines, prosecution, or imprisonment.

 

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to HM Treasury said:

 

“This government will not tolerate money which is meant for those in genuine need being siphoned off into the pockets of cheats and fraudsters.

“The new taskforce delivers on our commitment to tackle benefit fraud and together with the extra £917 million we have re-invested in HMRC sends a very clear message.”

 

This is part of the DWP and HMRC’s wider strategy to curtail fraudulent and erroneous conduct that is costing the nation billions each year, 2.2% of the total benefit expenditure.  Features of the tactic include:

 

  • Launching a single fraud investigation service,
  • Accessing more data and using private sector analytical techniques,
  • Increased asset seizure,
  • A new tougher one-strike, two-strike and three-strike rules, including three years for people with multiple convictions,
  • Money owed deducted directly through PAYE,
  • Case-cleaning over 1 million claims to remove official or customer error,

Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform said:

 

“The new Taskforce is our latest weapon in tackling welfare fraud on the front line. We are sending a clear warning that if you are fiddling the system, you will be caught. Welfare fraud is a crime and takes money away from the most vulnerable.

“People who are receiving the correct benefits and Tax Credits have absolutely nothing to fear. But if people have deliberately not told us of a change in circumstances, they should do so now, before the team comes knocking at their door.

“Alongside the Taskforce we are bringing in the Universal Credit which will simplify and automate the benefits system. This will make it much easier to catch people who make false claims.”

 

 

However, it remains to be seen how effective the MRT will be once the Universal Credit is introduced and changes to the 14,634,000 people claiming various benefits in the UK.

See the errors made by individuals and DWP from 2010:

 

Overpaid

  • 4.4%, or £350m, of Income Support expenditure has been overpaid
  • 6.5%, or £290m, of Jobseeker’s Allowance expenditure has been overpaid
  • 6.0%, or £500m, of Pension Credit expenditure has been overpaid
  • 2.4%, or £130m, of Incapacity Benefit expenditure has been overpaid
  • 4.7%, or £1030m, of Housing Benefit expenditure has been overpaid

 

Underpaid

  • 1.1%, or £90m, of Income Support expenditure has been underpaid
  • 0.3%, or £20m, of Jobseeker’s Allowance expenditure has been underpaid
  • 2.1%, or £180m, of Pension Credit expenditure has been underpaid
  • 0.7%, or £40m, of Incapacity Benefit expenditure has been underpaid
  • 1.5%, or £320m, of Housing Benefit expenditure has been underpaid

 

Kuki Taylor

Research and Communications Officer

Source:

 DWP Newsroom

 DWP research

 

 

 

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