Letter: Benefit frauds and reductions

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Sir: Peter Lilley's review of social security once again throws the spotlight on lone parents, by suggesting 18 per cent of their benefit claims are fraudulent. That figure is misleading since it includes cases where fraud is suspected but not proved - the survey actually found proof of fraud in just 9.5 per cent of claims by lone parents. It is vital that these findings are not used to discredit and scapegoat the majority of genuine lone parent claimants, who struggle to maintain their families on very low incomes.

Lone parents do not want to be dependent on the state or to see their children stuck in long-term poverty. The Government's own research shows 90 per cent want to return to work but are prevented from doing so by a lack of affordable childcare, suitable employment and training opportunities, and a system to bridge the gap between benefits and wages. These issues should be addressed as part of a positive strategy to help lone parents out of the benefits trap and back to work, which could also reduce the benefits bill.

Yours faithfully,

Karin Pappenheim

Director, National Council

for Lone Parent Families

London, NW5

11 July

12 July