Laura Sharman 21 July 2020

Scheme finds billions in benefit fraud

A government scheme has detected nearly £2bn in benefit fraud and overpayments since it was set up, new figures show.

The National Fraud Initiative found £245m of fraud between April 2018 and April 2020, taking the total detected up to £1.9bn since it was launched in 1996.

The fraud uncovered includes wrongful council tax claims, abuse of disabled parking badges and attempts to steal money from pension funds.

The chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, said: 'Schemes such as those to reduce council tax and provide housing benefit are there for the most vulnerable people in our society, not those who will try to cheat the system and fraudulently claim money that they don’t deserve.'

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: 'With billions lost every year in benefits fraud, schemes like this are delivering real bang for their buck.'

The National Fraud Initiative will be extended to help make sure that grants for emergency coronavirus relief have only been paid to those who deserve it.

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