Criminals to have benefits cut

Benefit claimants who break the law will be stripped of up to five times as much state cash per week in fines in a clampdown ordered by David Cameron in the wake of the summer's riots.

Courts will be given the right to demand payments of £25 per week instead of the present £5 maximum to show offenders they cannot get away with paying "the bare minimum", the Prime Minister said.



Of the 1,350 people hauled before the courts for their part in the disorder that hit the streets of England in August, 40 per cent were claiming a state benefit of some kind, official figures show.



A total of 500 (35 per cent) were claiming an out-of-work benefit, compared with 12 per cent of the general working population in England and 45 per cent of all offenders sentenced for an indictable offence last year.



In all, 100 were claiming disability living allowance, 60 were claiming incapacity benefit and some may have been claiming both.



The new maximum deduction will come into force in 2013 to coincide with the introduction of Universal Credit - the Government's new welfare payment system that rolls several existing benefits into one.



Courts will retain discretion over how much to demand in weekly repayments towards any fine they impose.



A £25 hit would represent around 37 per cent of the present rate of jobseeker's allowance.



Mr Cameron, who is in Perth, Australia, for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, said: "People need to understand if they commit a crime they will face the consequences.



"The system as it stands at the moment is far too soft and does not always send the right signals.



"(Work and Pensions Secretary) Iain Duncan Smith and I are determined to see responsibility and fairness restored to the welfare system and this clearly does precisely that.



"If you commit a crime and you are on benefits, you can no longer expect to get away with paying the bare minimum."



Mr Duncan Smith said: "The summer's riots showed that, for some people, the present system did not make them think about what they were doing.



"The PM and I were clear that we would look at all parts of the benefit system and ensure that people feel the full effects of their actions.



"I do not want to be in the business of leaving people without any money to support themselves but, equally, individuals must know that they cannot commit crime that impacts on the livelihoods and the communities of hard-working people without consequences." PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: HR Assistant

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a keen...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, this multi-ac...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Specialist

£21000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an e...

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat