U.K. Stasi to spy for benefit cheats for the slavemasterby Alison Little, theunhivedmind.com
December 5th 2011
NEW BLITZ ON BENEFIT CHEATS
Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud
HONEST citizens are today being urged to shop benefits cheats in a crackdown on fraudsters who steal £1.6billion a year from the taxpayer.
The Government is joining forces with Crimestoppers to make it easier for people to turn in shameless swindlers.
Ministers want the public to call an anonymous phone line to report those they suspect of falsely claiming state hand-outs.
Dave Cording, deputy chief executive of the charity, said: “Benefit fraud forces honest taxpayers to pay more, takes money away from those who genuinely need it and exploits others’ honesty.
“Callers who pass on information about benefit fraud are driven by the unfairness they witness of those claiming benefits dishonestly while being healthy and capable of working. We don’t accept excuses for other crimes, so let’s not accept them for benefit fraud.
“It’s not a victimless crime, and it hurts those in genuine need of financial help.” He said the taxpayer often ended up being “stung twice” by footing the bill to prosecute the cheats.
It’s not a victimless crime, and it hurts those in genuine need of financial help
Mr Cording added: “What you will be doing is making it tougher for people claiming benefits dishonestly to continue to exploit the system.”
People who suspect a benefit scam are being urged to ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org in confidence to pass on their concerns.
Ministers and the charity believe that, in addition to helping to tackle the problem, the initiative will drive home the fact that benefit fraud is a crime with consequences for other people – and that cheats will be caught and punished.
Benefit and tax credit fraud costs the country some £1.6billion a year, the Department for Work and Pensions estimates. Of this, £1.2billion is ascribed to benefit fraud and a further £400million to false tax credit claims.
Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said: “Benefit thieves are costing the taxpayer over £1billion a year. This money is intended to help those most in need not line the pockets of criminals.”
An initial blitz of advertising will be focused on Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow.
The most common benefit fraud is people saying they are single when in fact they live with partners. Others include falsely claiming to be too sick to work or failing to declare income from jobs or from renting out properties.
Experts welcomed the move to shop fraudsters. Jonathan Isaby, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Anything that increases the ease with which cheats can be identified and prosecuted is to be welcomed. Then their ill-gotten gains can be retrieved and the pressure on honest taxpayers relieved.” In January this year, the annual “fraud indicator” compiled by the National Fraud Authority estimated that all types of fraud, including that against public bodies, charities and businesses, costs the economy £38.4billion a year – an average of £765 for every person in the country.
Fraud against the public sector accounts for more than half the total – £21.2billion – with benefit and tax credit fraud making up about seven per cent of this.
Tax fraud such as evasion was the highest individual public sector fraud, costing some £15billion a year.
Last week it was revealed that the DWP’s own fraud hotline receives more than 700 calls a day. They had helped save some £100million since October 2010 by prosecuting nearly 10,000 benefit cheats.
The Government says 20 per cent more cheats were caught in the past 12 months than in the last year of Labour.
Other actions taken by the Government include regional task forces targeting suspected fraud hot-spots including Cardiff, Birmingham and Croydon in south London with personal visits and phone calls to claimants.
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