Moving on
Towards Better Times...?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Lie Detectors?

Benefit losses are 'astronomical'
“Benefits fraud and mistakes are so "astronomical" the figures are rounded up to the nearest half-a-billion pounds, say MPs…………..
The MPs say there has been progress in reducing the losses but it wants the system to be simplified……………..

Lie detectors?
Anti-Fraud Minister James Plaskitt said: "Fraud is at its lowest level ever thanks to our skilled investigators that use technology and the support of the public.
"But we are not complacent. We have got a new fraud strategy and will be looking at innovative ways to track down the cheats."
The department is looking at using credit reference agencies and "voice recognition" technology systems used by private firms - essentially lie detectors.”
See all of this article at:

Now it seems to me that there is an underlying contradiction here. On the one hand we have MPs admitting that the UK benefit system is a bureaucratic nightmare that is often misunderstood even by those who work for it, but on the other hand we still have all this ‘rallying the troops’ talk about ‘tracking down cheats’ and continued emphasis made by the Government and by David Blunkett in particular, on ‘what must be done’ to ‘crack down on benefit cheats’ (with the ‘we are watching you’ TV adds and constant reference to ‘benefit fraud’ within Labour Party rhetoric). Not to mention the cost of providing ‘new surveillance systems’ which will terrorise benefit claimants (most of whom deserve more, not less, than the meagre benefits they are grudgingly given).
And just to add to the fears of anyone who is on Incapacity Benefit, we have new rules coming in which will force many claimants off of the benefits they deserve and into low-paid, often completely unsuitable, work.

Isn’t this insistence, even in the face of reality, of concentrating on fraud rather than bureaucracy a case of shifting blame elsewhere?  And also, wouldn’t it be more to the point if this ‘nightmare’ of a benefits system was simplified – in a way that not only helped prevent errors, but also helped claimants rather than victimising them?

But perhaps that is too much to ask of this Government?

posted by summersun70 at 5:39 AM


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