Crooked benefits staff siphon off Â£500,000
Wednesday 31 July 2002
People working for the benefits agencies have cheated the system out of more than £500,000 since Labour came to power, prompting calls for tighter security checks.
Government employees used elaborate scams, including creating false identities, to claim thousands of pounds of bogus benefits, a Liberal Democrat MP has discovered.
Swindling by employees of benefits agencies or the Jobcentre Plus shops has more than doubled in the past year to £199,000, and in many cases the culprits have not been discovered or charged.
Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesman, found fraud worth more than £516,000 had been committed by staff paid by the taxpayer since 1997. He is concerned that the value of individual scams shows signs of increasing and that many staff who swindle the system have not been detected.
In the financial year 2001-02, one fraud worth £180,000 was found. The Department of Work and Pensions said frauds ranged from claiming benefits in the name of genuine claimants to filling out forms falsely and diverting cash to bogus identities.
Whitehall sources said the number of people caught was the "tip of the iceberg" and thousands of pounds worth of swindles by government and local authority staff remained undiscovered because of insufficient security checks.
"The Government makes great play of its battle on benefit fraud," Mr Webb said last night. "It talks tough, but these figures reveal a shocking level of fraud committed by government employees. In every year since Labour came to power, they have swindled taxpayers out of tens of thousands pounds. The cases still pending from 1998 send out the wrong message. It is time for the tough talking to stop and the action to start."
General Election 2015: Tories suspend candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
Bali Nine executions: Indonesia confirms killings of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will go ahead
The four utterly contradictory polls that tell the story of this election and why it is pointless trying to predict the outcome
General Election 2015: Prospect of Labour-SNP coalition makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband, says survey
Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 'Do not give them a reason': Baltimore man divides police and rioters in hope of avoiding violence
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour