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8 May 2014

Milton Keynes targets social housing fraud

Tenants illegally sub-letting their homes are being targeted by Milton Keynes Council in a bid to free up dozens of properties for needy families, reports the Milton Keynes Citizen.

A study from The Audit Commission ‘Protecting the Public Purse’ revealed there could be as many as 230 homes in Milton Keynes being illegally sub-let or the subject of application fraud – enough homes to dramatically reduce the number of residents waiting for a home.

This is why the council is determined to clamp down on tenants who choose to commit fraud by illegally sub-letting their properties and have recovered 29 homes over the past three years saving taxpayers £100,000.

In addition officers are currently pursuing 33 other cases of suspected housing fraud.

As part of the continuing initiative to tackle fraud the council is taking the following steps:

• Encouraging residents to report cases of suspected social housing fraud via a hotline on 01908 254897; Sharing data with partners to highlight false information provided by tenants or applicants;

• Improving anti-fraud measures and training of staff.

The council is also working closely with Guinness South Housing Association to detect and eliminate social housing fraud.

The council believes effective publicity that encourages the public to report fraud using hotlines, combined with sharing data and working closely with partners, can all work well to prevent fraud and increase the number of homes for those waiting.

It's good to see councils highlighting this. Social housing fraud is the most wicked welfare fraud: it's not just the money, it deprives families of a decent, settled home.

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