Criminal gangs who cheat the taxpayer out of billions through benefit fraud face a lifetime ban on claiming welfare under a new crackdown.This didn't result in the screaming and wailing and rending of garments you'd expect, when it made the news last week. Probably because EVERYONE realised it was utter bunk...
Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said officials will use the latest technology to cross reference Government and consumer computer databases to identify emerging patterns of fraud.Mmmm, government computer systems. Suuuuure they will....
Speaking yesterday at the Institute of Revenues, Ratings and Valuation annual conference, Lord Freud said: ‘We will put a stop to the fraudsters who infiltrate and steal money from our benefit system. Criminal gangs and identity fraudsters who persistently steal money meant for the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society will be severely punished.You'll deport them, eh? Really? You are aware that if they are from the EU, you can't do that?
‘We will track them down using the latest technology and when they have been caught and prosecuted, we will strip them of their assets and ban them from claiming benefits for long periods.
‘Arguably that should be for life in the most serious cases. If the gangs have come from abroad, we will deport them.
‘We are launching a major new initiative to fight organised benefit crime – one that not only prevents fraud, but detects, punishes, deters people from going down this criminal path.’
The Department said the rules, to be unveiled over the next few weeks, will target organised criminal gangs and identity fraudsters rather than punish those who are simply baffled and genuinely misunderstand the system.Oh, I don't doubt that that's what you intend. But these initiatives and projects always, somehow, end up targeting the very people you claim you don't mean to target, don't they?