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  1. Politics
10 August 2010

Cameron promises crackdown on benefit fraud

PM promises new measures to tackle "outrageous" £5.2bn cost of fraud and error.

By New Statesman

David Cameron will today announce an “uncompromising” crackdown on benefit fraud that could see tougher penalties for offenders and measures to encourage others to stop cheats.

The Prime Minister said reducing the £5.2 billion annual cost of fraud and error would be the “first and deepest” cut in public spending. Writing in the Manchester Evening News ahead of his latest PM Direct session, he said credit rating agencies could be used to help identify false claims.

He wrote: “At a time when we’re having to take such difficult decisions about how to cut back without damaging the things that matter the most, we should strain every sinew to cut error, waste and fraud in our welfare system.

“Welfare and tax credit fraud and error costs the taxpayer £5.2 billion a year. That’s the cost of more than 200 secondary schools or over 150,000 nurses. It’s absolutely outrageous and we cannot stand for it.”

He also promised new measures to recover “stolen” payments and to prosecute offenders.

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“It’s quite wrong that there are people in our society who will behave like this. But we will not shrug our shoulders and let them get away with it any longer. We will take the necessary measures to stop fraud happening in the first place, root out and take tough action against those found committing fraud and make sure the stolen money is paid back.

“I have asked Iain Duncan Smith to draw up an uncompromising strategy for tackling fraud and error which we will publish in the autumn.”

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