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

Building Services Engineer

Redbridge London Borough Council
£42,684.00 £45,585.00
An exciting opportunity has arisen for 2 Building Services Engineers to assist in maintaining the Council's Property Portfolio. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Statutory Compliance Officer

Redbridge London Borough Council
£31,548.00 - £33,291.00
This is an exciting time for the London Borough of Redbridge; we are at the heart of regeneration and change in East London, with... Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Planning Officer

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band E, £25,295 - £28,785
Are you an enthusiastic and self-motivated team player who wants to make a major contribution to the work of our Planning and Development Team? Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Brokerage Officer x2

Redbridge London Borough Council
£33,291.00 - £34,794.00
We are looking for someone whois highly numerate, and able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Education Support Officer - Sandwell Young Carers

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£17,802 per annum
If you would like to make a real difference to the lives of the young carers of... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how public sector organisations can unlock the hidden value in their land, and why a new approach to construction could help boost the outcomes of the Government’s One Public Estate programme.

The December issue also considers why learnings from ancient cities could provide the key to promoting wellbeing in the modern built environment. It also contains a case study on how the London Borough of Westminster has provided high quality care for the elderly alongside a block of luxury apartments.

Register for your free digital issue