Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Benefit Cheats? Rewarding Grasses?

with 10 comments

(Response to Government Plans to Pay  those who inform on ‘dole fraud’)

By the government’s own admission, more than 1,100 people phone its benefit hotline or report online each day, and last year it claims that more than 56,000 people were caught, although there were only 6,000 prosecutions (Report, 8 February). Yet even on the DWP’s own figures the overwhelming ­majority of calls were malicious and without foundation.

Each time someone is informed upon, whether innocent or otherwise, they are summoned to an interview on pain of suspension of benefits. This causes immense stress for people who are the victims of anonymous informants.

To target people who are already vulnerable should be a clear warning that for the unemployed New Labour is no better than the Tory opposition. Most so-called benefit fraud arises from the fact that it is impossible, for any length of time, for a person to survive on £64.30 a week. The term “benefit thief” is itself derogatory and discriminatory. It implies that all benefit claimants are potential or actual thieves.

Tony Greenstein

Secretary, Brighton & Hove Unemployed Workers Centre

 

(Guardian 15.2.10)

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Written by Andrew Coates

February 15, 2010 at 11:37 am

10 Responses

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  1. I wouldn’t be suprised if this campaign has the added effect of scaring away some people from claiming benefits that they are entitled to.

    I see from this press release that the total is now over £16bn.

    http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/press_office201022

    Average Joe

    February 16, 2010 at 10:36 am

  2. The concept is good but the problem with these reporting procedures are the person who complains can remain anonymous.

    Also, there is no penalty under law for false reporting. Of course, a person with a genuine concern who happens to be wrong would likely be scot free as is morally right – but those with the intention of just getting at people (because they see themselves as better) by lying to the authorities should be financially punished.

    It would be rare for DWP to investigate while you claim. it would be terminate/suspend benefits before they have any evidence. Interviews under caution. This is too much.

    Flexible New Deal

    February 16, 2010 at 12:38 pm

  3. I agree with Average Joe. It seems the government is happy to claim back the money from so called benefit cheats, but not so keen on reducing excessive wastage in other government departments.

    Yet again the poor and those living in poverty get screwed by the government. Personally I can understand why people try to make a little income on the side, especially when we get so little from JSA in the first place! You would have to be pretty spineless to report your friends though wouldn’t you?

    I hate the ‘adverts’ for Benefit Thieves, I always switch over. Notice how they got the most unattractive actress they could find for the advert? That’s how little they think of us!

    Chris H

    February 16, 2010 at 3:54 pm

  4. One of these “dole fraud” posters has been plastered on a phone box on my street.

    Do you think someone’s trying to tell me something?

    Steven Adams

    March 4, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    • Nothing new here, this has been going on since the beginning of time. Never known a tradesman to take a cheque. Just paid £10,000 for a dormer window.

      Jeff

      May 27, 2010 at 5:37 pm

  5. Juat wread this article on AOL News:

    87% lured by tax dodgers’ discount
    May 27th 2010 – 2.40pm

    Most consumers would happily pay in cash for a discount even if told it was for tax evasion, according to a poll.

    The survey for MoneySavingExpert.com found 87% of people would knowingly support criminal tax evasion in return for a discount.

    Of that group, 22% said they would haggle for an even bigger discount.

    The poll asked: “What would you do if a builder/masseuse/cleaner/plumber/market stall holder or anyone else offered you a 15% discount because ‘It’s better in my pocket than in the taxman’s.’?”
    Of the 11,285 who responded, 65% said they would take the discount, 22% would haggle and ask for a bigger discount, 10% would refuse it and 3% would report it as tax fraud.

    MoneySavingExpert creator Martin Lewis said: “Mention the black economy and people think of countries like Greece or the developing world, yet this is proof illicit transactions probably worth billions happen in the UK too.

    “This is a real challenge for the new Government’s austerity drive. While increasing tax take is important, most don’t see putting some cash in a back pocket as too bad, so a crackdown is likely to be highly unpopular.

    “Even amongst the small number who’d refuse to take part in the transaction, some commented it was because they’d explicitly been told it was for tax evasion, and had it been left unsaid it wouldn’t have been a problem.

    “It’s interesting to note, as a society, there seems to be an acceptable historic tradition of paying someone ‘tax-free’ while coming down hard on those who play with the benefits system. Actually, they’re two sides of the same coin.”

    lowestoft's finest

    May 27, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    • Nothing new here, this has been going on since the beginning of time. Never known a tradesman to take a cheque. Just paid £10,000 for a dormer window. Paid in CASH!!

      Jeff

      May 27, 2010 at 5:38 pm

  6. […] Yet this group of benefit fraudsters needn’t worry as they can expect to be treated with kid gloves by the authorities.  Whilst there are penalties for those who are caught still claiming when they are no longer entitled, HMRC say that those who don’t bother to register until long after the deadline will probably not be fined.  They are unlikely to face ten year prison sentences, or be named and shamed on the DWP website.  There have been no posters placed on bus shelters in Chipping Norton encouraging millionaire residents to grass up their neighbours. […]


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