Con-Dems’ benefit fact fraud

Ben Golightly

A survey carried out by the TUC earlier this year revealed that people believe, on average, that 27% of the welfare budget is claimed fraudulently.

This is thanks to lies peddled by the right-wing media and politicians. DWP preliminary estimates released on 9 May show that the true figure is closer to 0.7%.

Disability benefits have the lowest rates of fraud. Estimated rates for Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance are 0.3% and 0.5% respectively (£10 million and £70 million).

Fraud rates for the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) are not yet measured directly, but applying the DWP’s estimated fraud rate for all “unreviewed” benefits to ESA expenditure gives a figure of £68 million.

The combined cost of fraud across these three benefits is approximately £148 million in total.

Atos Healthcare, the private company responsible for assessing disabled people claiming benefits, has a contract worth £400 million.

Clearly welfare reform has everything to do with slashing billions of pounds from the welfare bill and handing juicy contracts to big business.

The TUC survey revealed that support for benefit cuts was “dependent on ignorance”.

Those who know the least about welfare were the most hostile. Support for the benefit cap rapidly turned into majority opposition when it was explained how it would affect low-paid workers.

The demonization of benefits claimants can be cut across if we had a mass workers’ party willing to argue the case.

But the Labour Party is completely complicit in the scapegoating of benefit claimants.

The Socialist Party is working with others in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) to stand up against the cuts.