Welfare cheats will face higher fines for duping the system and could even be forced to sell their homes to reimburse the taxpayer, under new attempts to tackle benefit fraud.
Ministers are set to announce a package of plans this week which will highlight a crackdown on fraudulent claims and outline action to be taken against benefit cheats.
It will also be announced that pensioners who fail to declare their full earnings from private pension schemes will be targeted as fraud investigators cross-check HM Revenue & Customs records.
Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said the reforms will potentially save taxpayers £50billion over the course of the Coalition’s five years in power.
> Hang on – the amount of benefit fraud is said to be a whopping 0.8 % – how much are these less than 1% alledgedly fraudulent claims worth each ?!
Or is IDS playing fast & loose with the figures. Again.
Meanwhile tax avoidance and evasion is estimated at anywhere from £30bn to £120bn.
He said the reforms ‘strike a fair deal between claimants and the taxpayer, help more people into work and help us build a strong society’.
> Claimants are taxpayers, taxpayers are claimants – I do wish he’d stop these crude divide & rule tactics.
Writing in The Telegraph, he said: ‘If you’d listened to the scaremongers, you’d be forgiven for thinking we were ripping up the welfare state and telling people to fend for themselves.
‘In fact what we are doing is returning the welfare state to what it was meant to be – a safety net, not a way of life.’
He said the number of people claiming the main out-of-work benefits was already down by more than 630,000.
It is understood ministers will now set about recovering debts owed by benefits cheats and will work with private debt collection firms in an attempt to recover around £414million of the money owed.
> …will work with private debt collection firms – ah, I think we can see where this is going…
> a new benefit fraud division set up in the Department for Work and Pensions to pursue those who make false claims – presumably they will work closely with the private debt collection firms, and on the general premise that anyone claiming benefits is probably out to defraud.
In addition, a publicity campaign will be launched to try and urge claimants to ensure their details are correct and they are not accidentally receiving too much money.
> How about if mistakes are made by the DWP ? Will the house of the person who made the mistake be at risk ?
Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘The incontrovertible truth is that we are building a system that makes work pay, is fairer to taxpayers and claimants, and sets the strong path for a better future for Britain.’
> Eh ? and sets the strong path for a better future for Britain. What is that supposed to mean ?
He also said the ‘revolutionary’ reforms which are ‘work-focused, responsive and economically literate‘ bring the welfare state into the 21st century.
The Telegraph reported how the Government spent £166billion on benefits and state pensions to more than 20 million people last year but ‘lost’ £3.5billion to fraud and payments made in error.
> Hang on – earlier we were told Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said the reforms will potentially save taxpayers £50billion over the course of the Coalition’s five years in power.
Well, for a start, they’re most of the way through those five years… is he going to instigate retrospective seizing of property or something ?
Even if it was for 5 years, £3.5 billion x 5 = £17.5 billion. Where does IDS get £50 billion from ? Surely he’s not anticipating making a big profit on seized goods and houses ?
Also, £3.5billion to fraud and payments made in error – payments made in error are not fraud, so the actual amount of fraud is smaller – probably much nearer the 0.8% normally quoted.
It seems that once again IDS is out with his sledgehammer to crack a nut, but probably the real intention is to spread his vile lies and bolster his reputation (what’s left of it) as a champion of the striving taxpayer against the skiving benefit fraudsters.
Mind you, while we’re on the subject…
Source – Daily Mail, 06 April 2014
North Tyneside Council has agreed a motion to block payday loan companies websites from its computers – PCs used by all council staff and those available to the public in libraries and Customer First centres – and to prevent such companies setting up business in council-owned commercial property.
The motion also called on the government to legislate and effectively regulate payday lenders (dont hold your breath on that one…).
Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “With the soaring costs of energy and food bills, cuts in benefits and a freeze on wages it’s not suprising that more and more people feel they have no option but to take desperate measures to meet their bills.
“Our research shows that people are now borrowing on average around 326 pounds a month from these credit companies. The interest they charge is absolutely scandalous, so it’s no wonder that many people are caught in a spiral of debt and taking out more loans just to get by.
“This council is taking a significant first step by agreeing this motion, and I can guarantee there will be more action to come.”
No matter how bad things get, there will always be someone waiting to take advantage. It’s to be hoped that other councils might follow this example, as well as promoting Credit Unions as an alternative.