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10 Jul 2013

The scale of benefit fraud

Britons overestimate the amount of benefit fraud, says Channel 4 News. In a survey Britons assumed that £24 out of every £100 spent on social welfare goes on fraudulent claims. Official estimates say the total is 34 times lower: only £0.70 is lost to fraud.

But as we know, the government is happy to understate the figures in the hope of a quieter life. The respondents to the survey may simply not be fooled, as they know of people in their neighbourhoods who are benefit thieves.

Benefit fraud is far higher than the government say. You can't fool all of the people all of the time.

The Richmond and Kingston benefit fraud team has clawed back more taxpayers’ money than ever with an estimated £439,492 retrieved from benefit cheats in Richmond between March last year and March this year.

The council retrieved £387,780 in fraudulent benefit payments the previous year.

The fraud team has also been working to clamp down on social housing fraud and has saved £234,000 by recovering eight properties and 24 units of temporary accommodation. This is specially important, as families are deprived of desperately needed accommodation.

The judiciary doesn't always help with the fight against this common crime. Thus a benefit thief who falsely claimed £10,000 has had her electronic tag removed early, so she can enjoy the summer evenings outdoors with her children.

You couldn't make it up.

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