Thomas Bridge 28 July 2015

Councils face ‘huge’ rise in Right to Buy scams

Councils face ‘huge’ rise in Right to Buy scams image

Right to Buy fraud has more than doubled across London in the past year, with boroughs detecting scams worth almost £26m.

Figures from the London Boroughs’ Fraud Investigators’ Group (LBFIG) reveal the number of fraud cases involving council tenants looking to buy their property at a discount climbed to 300 in 2014/15, with the value of cons rising by 185%.

At least 3% of Right to Buy applications in London are now thought to be fraudulent. The figure will pose a serious concern for the Government as it looks to expand the scheme to 1.3m housing association tenants across the county.

London boroughs in total uncovered £73m of fraud last year, an increase of 46% on the previous 12 months.

While the number of cases dealt with by boroughs fell by 10%, local authorities are said to be facing an ‘emerging’ spate of new scams surrounding claims from people from abroad who are incorrectly claiming benefits. LBFIG said London councils identified 432 cases worth more than £7m relating to people with no recourse to public funds over 2014/15m.

Boroughs in the capital also recovered 1,618 properties from fraudsters in the past year, half the total reclaimed across the county.

Chair of the LBFIG and Southwark Council fraud manager, Kevin Campbell-Scott, said: ‘Councils across the country can learn from our proactive approach to tackling fraud, and protecting the public purse, at a time when council coffers are stretched more than ever before.

‘The sterling work our fraud teams are doing is taking money and council houses back from fraudsters, so that they can benefit those in genuine need. However we can’t be complacent. New risks are emerging all the time and we need to stay one step ahead of those who want to cheat the public purse.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of Looked After Children and Vulnerable Young People

Enfield London Borough Council
Up to £89,319
 This is an exciting opportunity to lead all the services that support Enfield’s children in care and care leavers. Enfield (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Enfield London Borough Council

Head of Communities

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
to £61,751 (pay award pending)
We are looking for an innovative and knowledgeable senior professional to join our leadership team with strong experience of working in communities... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Economic Development Officer (Town Centres)

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878 per annum
The Economic Development Officer (Town Centres) post forms part of the Council’s Business Focus team who provide help directly to businesses. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Educational Psychologist

Camden London Borough Council
£44,131 - £53,34
The ideal candidates will have an excellent understanding of psychological frameworks and their application in... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Economic Development Officer

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878
Are you interested in a challenge and want to help shape the future of North West Leicestershire? Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue