Wednesday 6 October 2010


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.

‘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.’
You'll deport them, eh? Really? You are aware that if they are from the EU, you can't do that?
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?


Timdog said...

I don't know how you find the will to write about this stuff. I read this and all I can think is "what a waste of oxygen it all is".

Useless computer system to be used to pursue one set of people but inevitably pursue an entirely different set. Any people from set 1 accidentally caught now threatened with a meaningless punishment that is utterly unenforceable.

*bangs head on desk*

Mark Wadsworth said...

I have cross referenced this to benefitfraud blog, and the bulk of fraud is:

1. Child Tax Credits using made up children (as opposed to Child benefit, where fraud is barely measurable and possibly negative).

2. People 'on the sick' working cash in hand.

3. 'Single mothers' who forget to mention live in partner.

4. Housing Benefit paid to private landlords (and subletting of council homes).

We can wipe this out at a stroke by:

a) Having a flat rate single payment Citizen's Income system (akin to Child Benefit or Basic State Pension) - you get it whether you are working or not or single or married (eradicates most of fraud in 1, 2 and 3); and
b) Scrapping HB for private landlords; renting out council homes at market value (which might entail building a few more to get rents down), which eradicates 4.


JuliaM said...

"I don't know how you find the will to write about this stuff. "

The last couple of days has provided almost too much material! :)

"I have cross referenced this to benefitfraud blog.."

Ooh, I'll check that one out!

"...a flat rate single payment Citizen's Income system..."

I've read a lot about that lately. Must look into what it entails. I'm sure there are pitfalls with it, but they may be lessened. Compared to the current situation, that it...