Benefit cheats be warned: the new dwp inspectorate is coming to a street near you
The DWP are launching a new Mobile Regional Taskforce that will travel the county tackling fraud. This new team will target all high risk postcodes across the country re-examining claims for benefits and Tax Credits.
Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform said:
"The new Taskforce is our latest weapon in tackling welfare fraud on the front line. We are sending a clear warning that if you are fiddling the system, you will be caught. Welfare fraud is a crime and takes money away from the most vulnerable.
"People who are receiving the correct benefits and Tax Credits have absolutely nothing to fear. But if people have deliberately not told us of a change in circumstances, they should do so now, before the team comes knocking at their door.
"Alongside the Taskforce we are bringing in the Universal Credit which will simplify and automate the benefits system. This will make it much easier to catch people who make false claims."
People who tell the Department about a change in their circumstances before they are found out by the Taskforce will have to repay the money they owe, and, depending on the seriousness of their action, may face an additional punishment. Anyone who doesn’t take this opportunity and is found by the Taskforce to be committing welfare fraud could be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.
David Gauke MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury said:
"This government will not tolerate money which is meant for those in genuine need being siphoned off into the pockets of cheats and fraudsters.
"The new taskforce delivers on our commitment to tackle benefit fraud and together with the extra £917 million we have re-invested in HMRC sends a very clear message."
The Taskforce will start on 25 of July in the Perry Barr and Kingstanding area of Birmingham. People can also report a cheat on the National Benefit Fraud Hotline number 0800 854 440 or online via: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/benefit-thieves
This new measure is set out alongside other measures in the fraud and error strategy announced at the end of last year by DWP and HMRC that will reduce annual welfare fraud and error overpayments by one quarter (£1.4 billion) by March 2015 through:
- Launching a single fraud investigation service
- Accessing more data and using private sector analytical techniques
- Increased asset seizure
- A new tougher one-strike, two-strike and three-strike rules, including three years for people with multiple convictions
- Money owed deducted directly through PAYE
- Case-cleaning over 1 million claims to remove official or customer error