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