From the TUC

Benefit Fraud: a success story the government doesn’t want you to know about

16 Jun 2011, by in Society & Welfare

New statistics show that less than one per cent of benefit spending is lost to fraud. This is a terrific achievement – so why doesn’t the Department for Work and Pensions let everyone know how well its doing?

Today the DWP published a new edition of Fraud and Error in the Benefit System, taking the statistics up to September last year.

Just like earlier reports, today’s shows just how successful the Department is at countering benefit fraud: just 0.8 per cent of benefit spending is taken by fraud, with another 1.4 per cent being lost to errors.

Benefits account for a large fraction of government spending, so 0.8 per cent is a lot of cash: £1.2 billion. This means its certainly worth investing in anti-fraud measures, but equally, the fact that 99.2 per cent of spending is not on fraud is something that we should celebrate. This is especially true when money is tight and many people are worried that their taxes are being wasted on people getting benefits they aren’t entitled to.

But that is the last thing the government does. Today’s figures were hardly publicised at all – a stark contrast with any reports that suggest social security is in trouble. Of course, if the government wants to use stereotypes about fraudulent benefit claimants to justify massive welfare cuts they might find this success a bit of an embarrassment.

Perish the thought.

15 Responses to Benefit Fraud: a success story the government doesn’t want you to know about

  1. steff
    Jun 16th 2011, 8:46 pm

    Yes but that is talking about deliberate fraud – not the large number of people who end up on either job seekers or benefits for ill health who remain because the system lacks any form of imagination. I don’t get why the left is so concerned with defending a status quo which leaves people on a system indefinitely and slowly drains the hope, ambition and drive from your life.

    And before anyone accuses me of anything, I was in that situation for a prolonged period of time, with one flatmate now on jobseekers for three years, with family members on incapacity benefit for years who now regret it sincerely. Let’s challenge unjust reforms, but not reform for the sake of maintaining a status quo which fails people

  2. gregv
    Jun 16th 2011, 9:51 pm

    Agree with both points made by commentator and commentor, I have seen wasted talent in abundance sat on the couch apathetic and unmotivated as the system truly does lack imagination, but then again so does business and the public sector as employers- apprenticeships are scarce,we import skill instead of training and investing in it and we rely on charity and the 3rd sector to show the way by devising micro schemes to help.
    A major new state initiative with employers obliged to provide apprenticeships and career development training was abandoned by the ConDems, shame it might have made a difference by providing co-ordinated real cash ands support and opportunity for the many not the few.

  3. Wheelie
    Jun 16th 2011, 10:30 pm

    “not the large number of people who end up on either job seekers or benefits for ill health who remain because the system lacks any form of imagination. I don’t get why the left is so concerned with defending a status quo which leaves people on a system indefinitely and slowly drains the hope, ambition and drive from your life”

    And you know that how? The personal experience you describe must have been an incredible amount of time ago. That you describe just can’t happen and couldn’t have happened for many years.

    For a start, if you refuse a training opportunity, in whatever form, don’t respond to a letter, or refuse a job interview, you are dumped by the JobCentre
    sharpish. No benefits, end of. JSA claimants are offered opportunities regularly. Or else.

    Incapacity Benefit is now Employment and Support Allowance, and one’s ability to work is accessed regularly. Yup, I’m aware that ESA is for new claimants. Makes no difference.

    More, the assumption that that those on JSA, IB or ESA are stuck in a benefits wasteland they can’t get out of is a rhetoric. More. It’s an adherence to political and uninformed rhetoric. They don’t have a choice. They have to take advantage of the opportunities offered them, or lose their benefits.

    There are, at Jobcentres, disability advisor’s, Even if their on a disability related benefit attributed to them, that despite the extent of the disability they would find finding employment difficult.

    Not everyone on IB or ESA can work. Many of those on those benefits want to work, despite their incapacity. The real difficulty is The Jobcentre and the claimants inability to persuade employers to take them on.

    The problem that’s causing a lot of distress and stress is that the assessment they all have to go through is out of balance, immature in conception and practice, and target driven, and bears little relation to the disability of the person that may limit their ability to function in a work environment.

    But certainly, the limiting factor is the disability friend.

  4. Dean Fox
    Jun 17th 2011, 7:07 am

    I applaud these statistics, it confirms what I thought all along, that benefit fraud is a small minority activity which the majority get tarred.

    As regards inventiveness, all the inventive schemes in the world will not create jobs. Simple problem too many people not enough jobs, training people to do something for which there is no demand is a flawed plan.

    Part of this country’s problem is it no longer manufactures anything so doesn’t create anything new to sell to other countries. It does however provide services but the majority of those are sold to others in this country because the services are inherently not exportable, such as hairdressing. Sadly many other countries provide exportable services like IT or Engineering cheaper.

    To improve matters we need to sell stuff to other countries to bring in money to stimulate growth. We need to identify things that we can do this with and stimulate those markets as well as train people to meet the demand we hope to generate.

  5. Richard
    Jun 17th 2011, 9:41 am

    “I don’t get why the left is so concerned with defending a status quo which leaves people on a system indefinitely and slowly drains the hope, ambition and drive from your life.”

    Did you bother to listen to Ed Miliband’s speech on Monday? Have you bothered to find out where the current reforms of incapacity benefit (into ESA) and DLA originate? If you too had any initiative, Steff, you’d find out it was the last Labour government that introduced the ongoing reforms. Big D’OH!

  6. Steve
    Jun 17th 2011, 11:16 am

    More important is the amount and percentage the DWP are cheeting and not paying people in need.Many of these stats are known but there is NO system to get these payments fully owed to people?Also DWP management have been in yearly receipts of £28mill.for what?Doing there jobs with huge protected pensions! Another stat;How many people does DWP employ with disability issues?How many does Gov UK employ and Councils. It can be found that very little employment can be accessed if disabled with “The System”,especially the Conservative Party.

  7. k…………………………………..
    Jun 17th 2011, 12:06 pm

    Here’s my personal input…at the age of 59 I am assured in my own mind I will never hold down another full time job. I have been unemployed for the last 6 years and have never been contacted by any benefit agency since my partner claimed for me due to her being on incapacity benefits. She has been to three medical examinations each one confirming what the original decision was and allotting her the minimum payment of DLA. As for myself, nobody cares or seems to care what I do, I have over the past six years made money on a casual basis even paying income tax regularly.
    If they really wanted to tighten up then they would link tax records to benefits records but that will never happen as the rich would be up in arms about invasion of privacy when it was discovered just how little income tax they pay on their inflated wages. Seeing such things on a computer screen when they have applied for child benefit for instance there would be an outrage when the results of tax avoidance ere “leaked”

  8. Paul
    Jun 17th 2011, 3:01 pm

    And yet under both Brown and the coalition the number of staff employed to catch tax avoidance and evasion has been decreased – even though each investigator many multiples of their salary.

    We also have numerous laws that help the very rich get away with not paying tax, eg Philip Green’s 1.2 billion loan on Acadia to allow him to pay the money to his non-dom wife. He would not have got away with this in Australia.

    But the Daily Mail, Sun, Express etc need their daily feed of photogenic stories of benefit fraud to keep people in fear.

    I have often wondered if they teach Marx at Eton as we seem to have a merger of the heirs of the aristocracy working with the capitalist ‘robber barons’ of large corporations and investment bankers, aristo-caps?, to attack the rest of society – the poor, the middle class, small business, the pensioners and even many of the well off.

  9. Simon
    Jun 18th 2011, 1:04 pm

    How can they possibly know? If any claim is known to be fraudulent, of course it’s immediately stopped. How many claims are currently fraudulent can therefore only be a guess, at best based on the numbers who’ve actually been caught previously.

    For all we know 90% of claims could be fraudulent, but the department have actually done a really bad job, and failed to catch 89.2% (of the original 100%) of that fraudulent 90%

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