Welfare reform minister Lord Freud has announced plans to deny anyone found guilty of benefit fraud on three occasions state handouts for three years. However there is some speculation on how successful the new policy will be, since 2002 only six people have been found guilty of committing such a crime.
A spokeswoman for the department of work and pensions admitted: ‘In developing our new strategy we have analysed the data and we know that six people have been prosecuted for three-strike benefit fraud. Significant numbers of people do defraud the system once or twice and we want to deter repeat fraudsters.’
It seems that some fraudsters still may slip through the new system, the government stated that benefits may not be docked if the claimant found to be duping the government has a family to support.
‘It will be a flexible measure, depending on whether the fraudster has any dependants and the type of the fraud,’ the spokeswoman added.
It is one of several measures designed to catch benefit and tax cheats and slash the Ã‚Â£192billion-a-year social security bill.
Another measure is a National Welfare Investigation Service of 200 staff dedicated to tracing benefit cheats.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Douglas Alexander said: ‘We halved fraud in the benefit system while we were in government and introduced a ‘‘one-strike’’ power so that people could lose their benefits even for a first offence of fraud.’