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Theresa May announces plan for a crackdown on benefits fraudsters

Theresa May On the day that a Conservative analysis shows that benefit fraud and error has cost the country £80 a second under Labour, the Conservatives are pledging today to introduce tougher measures against those who abuse the benefits system.

Whereas the Labour Government only penalises fraudulent claimants for up to a maximum of thirteen weeks, a Conservative Government would remove the right to claim out-of-work benefits from those who repeatedly defraud the system for up to three years.

It will work on the basis of a "three strikes" policy:

  • First-time benefit fraudster will lose their out-of-work benefits for three months
  • Second-time offenders will lose the benefits for six months
  • The sanction of losing the benefits for up to three years will kick in on someone committing benefit fraud for a third time.

(Existing mechanisms for appeal will apply, whilst vulnerable claimants – such as those with children - will receive a cut to their benefits rather than a total loss of entitlement.)

This is all in addition to the existing stated policies that those on out-of-work benefits who refuse three reasonable offers of work will face losing their benefits for up to three years; and that those who don’t turn up to an employment programme or training place will stop receiving out-of-work benefits until they do.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Theresa May, commended today's robust new position, saying it was all about fairness:

“For too long Labour have let benefit cheats play the system, costing the taxpayer millions. It is astounding that since 1997 welfare waste has cost the public £80 every second. We want to send out a strong message to people who fleece the taxpayer - you could lose your out of work benefits for three years. This is about fairness. While the whole country is tightening its belt it’s scandalous that thousands are managing to defraud the taxpayer out of billions.”

Jonathan Isaby


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