DWP benefit fraud shock as department finds some real cases of it

  • Post last modified:May 30, 2024
  • Reading time:5 mins read

For once, the waste-of-space fraud unit at Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has actually caught some real-life fraudsters leeching British taxpayers out of a tidy £53.9m. So naturally, the right-wing corporate media had a field day crowing about Mel Stride’s wet wipe army’s sudden DWP benefit fraud breakthrough. Of course, there’s nothing curious about the timing at all – it’s not as if there’s an election on the horizon or anything – oh, wait.

DWP benefit fraud: a media field day

Surprise, surprise, GB News was all over this case of DWP benefit fraud. It reported how:

A Bulgarian gang which fraudulently claimed over £50million in Universal Credit “poked fun at the naivety” of the Department for Work and Pensions, a court has heard.

Cue the corporate media smears – with an (un)healthy dose of rancid racism thrown in for good measure. Right-wing shill Matthew Lynn was laying it on thick with the anti-migrant, benefit scrounger rhetoric. And that’s not to forget his anti-woke ‘work from home’ culture war prattle too. He wrote that:

the civil servants who are meant to monitor claims are all working from home, or attending compulsory “unconscious bias” courses, and are too terrified of accusations of xenophobia to start checking whether all the claims from Bulgarian sounding names might mean there is something fishy going on.

Naturally, the DWP press goon managed to shoehorn in the whole benefits are “too generous” steaming pile of shit to boot. Clearly he missed the memo about a key UN committee finding the UK’s benefit system is rife with “grave” and “systemic” rights violations, for the second time. Or the one about it callously cutting thousands from people’s benefits through its bullshit Universal Credit ‘mass migration’ process.

Fast-and-loose with the truth on fraud

Here’s the thing though, as the Canary has consistently reported, benefit fraud is largely non-existent – and this Bulgarian benefit fraud racket is the anomaly. For instance, the Canary’s Steve Topple has previously underscored how a sizeable proportion of the DWP’s fraud estimates are not in fact from actual claimants at all. Instead, Topple has detailed how:

much of the £8.3bn the DWP promotes as fraud (and that the media dutifully laps up) is just based on assumptions and guesswork.

Then, take Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The Canary’s Rachel Charlton-Dailey recently pointed out that the government’s own data found that cases of PIP fraud were next-to-nothing at just 0.1%. Funnily enough, as Charlton-Dailey also highlighted, the DWP were a little quiet on this:

When they made a massive stab-vested song and dance about DWP fraud decreasing in 2023, you have to wonder why they aren’t shouting from the rooftops that PIP fraud is now at 0%. The only conclusion to be reached is that low-or-no DWP benefit fraud doesn’t fit their narrative of how much disabled people are wasting taxpayers money. So nothing to see here.

Unfortunately then, it never actually matters that the proportion of fraud in the benefits system is infinitesimally small. What matters isn’t fact or fiction – it’s the cherry-picked, fast-and-loose with the truth that feeds their foul agenda.

But of course, there’s a more serious side to all this too. That’s because, the stream of articles from the Tories devoted media lapdogs played up its usual toxic line. Specifically, it feeds into its narrative that benefit claimants are laughing all the way to the bank. In reality, the UK’s benefit system is screwing over poor and disabled people as regularly as Tory corruption scandals brew.

The DWP are the real fraudsters

So after a two-year investigation, the DWP has “cracked down” on a four-person benefit-laundering gang. It has exposed them for fraudulent claims of £53.9m.

Meanwhile, the average salary for an employee in the DWP’s so-called ‘Targeted Case Review’ is around £30,000 a year. With plans in the works for 2,000 more ‘external agents’, the DWP has said this will swell its ranks to 6,000 employees working in fraud detection.

So chasing after the big bucks, the department will pay its benefit snoops, wait for it: £1.8bn a year. In other words, the DWP is throwing billions at recovering millions – slow-clap, long eye-roll.

At the end of the day, that’s where the money is: because it’s the DWP that’s defrauding the British taxpayer, with its ceaseless “crack down” crock of shit.

Feature image via the Canary

Source link