benefit fraud  

benefit fraud in the UK

  benefit fraud in the UK

Welcome to this website about the scandal of benefit fraud.

Benefit fraud is rife in the UK. The government pretends it costs us £1.2bn annually. But the real figure is probably at least £5bn a year.

Government figures show there were 5.80m working age benefit claimants at February 2009 - this is 15.7% of the working age population!

The number of working age claimants of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and incapacity benefits totalled 2.60m. 736,000 people were claiming lone parent benefit.

In the year to February there were 422,000 new claims to working age incapacity benefits, and 549,000 new claims for Income Support.

These huge numbers cannot be policed effectively for fraudulent claims. They only emphasise the case for deterrent punishments for those few who do get caught. Indeed, the DWP's boast is that they have over 3,000 fraud investigators. How could they hope to police millions of claims? They can't, of course.

We tell you how to report a case of suspected benefit theft.

But the legal process is cumbersome. And too often light sentences do not reflect the crime, and offer no deterrent. Prevention needs to be improved, to reduce fraudulent claims in the first place. Deterrence needs to be improved, to discourage people from trying. That means clear, simple rules and stiffer punishments. Otherwise the system will continue to be overwhelmed. That makes society less moral and it costs us money.

The national press only reports the worst cases. You can see other cases on the benefit fraud blog, based on reports from around Britain.