Iain Duncan Smith: We’ll Root Out Benefit Cheats

Martyn Brown of the Daily Express reports Britain’s benefit system is seen as a money-making scam by criminals, Iain Duncan Smith warned yesterday.

The Work and Pensions Secretary promised to get tough with benefit cheats, vowing they will not get away with swindling the taxpayer out of anymore money.

A rogues gallery of 10 of the most outrageous con  artists caught this year includes people who claimed to ill to work, or even walk, but were caught jetskiing, Morris dancing, trampolining, bodybuilding, playing golf and even performing on TV’s The X Factor spin-off The Xtra Factor.

Latest figures show £1.2billion was lost to fraud last year.

Ministers say that the move to Universal Credit – combining several benefits into one – will make it easier to catch fraudsters.

Mr Duncan Smith said: “The vast majority of people play by the rules. I’m determined to root out the unscrupulous minority who are cheating hard working taxpayers and diverting it from those who need it most.

“Some people see the welfare state as a money-making scam but I have a simple message for them – you will not get away with it.”

Among the worst offenders last year, Sonia Mellor, 33, of Manchester, was given a suspended prison sentence for claiming £100,000 because she was “virtually immobile”. She was caught on film trampolining.

Karen Trant, 52, of Dartmouth, in Devon, was jailed for more than two years after raking in £134,000 in benefits. She said she could not walk outdoors in new places but enjoyed tropical holidays and had plastic surgery.

Former Mr Wales Peter Beddoe, 50, of Aberdare, was jailed for six months after falsely claiming £28,000 in benefits while competing in bodybuilding.

The £23,000 scam of father-of-five Joseph Ross, 44, of Walsall, West Midlands, was rumbled when a Youtube video of him emerged playing a guitar with boyband JLS on the Xtra Factor. He got a suspended jail sentence.

Allan Baldwin, 67, of Lockerbie in Scotland, claimed more than £28,000 in benefits after saying he was barely able to walk. Yet investigators filmed him joining in with a Morris dancing group. He also got a suspended jail term.

Mark Kemp, 58, of Oldham, Lancs, claimed £35,000 in disability living allowance saying he needed a stick to walk, despite teaching martial arts. He too was given a suspended jail term.

“And how is IDS going to push this zero tolerance through- another witch hunt.”

Benefit Cuts – Research Says It Works!

Research proves that more people will be helped back into work when families have benefits slashed under a welfare cap, claims Iain Duncan Smith.

The amount households can claim in handouts  for housing and living costs will be cut from £26,000 to £23,000 a year if the Conservatives win the next election.

A study for the Work and Pensions Secretary found that 41 per cent of people who had their benefits capped at £500 a week were more likely to find a job.

Nearly a third were doing more to find work, a third put in more applications and one in five went to more interviews.

More than three-quarters of those questioned in February who said they intended to seek work had found a job within six months, the research shows.

Mr Duncan Smith, said: “We now have clear evidence of the positive impact68d31-iain-duncan-smith[1] of the benefit cap and I expect even more people will move off benefits and into work when the cap is lowered. Labour are committed to scrapping the cap and returning us to  the days of unjustified benefit handouts of up to £54,000 a year, equal to a pre-tax wage of over £80,000.”

More than 12,000 households have taken up jobs or stopped claiming housing benefit, saving taxpayers £85million last year alone.

The households are among the 52,000 that have had benefits capped at £500 a week for couples or single parents and £350 a week for childless single adults since new rules were introduced in April 2013.

Hundreds of families were pocketing handouts equal to a salary of £60,000 a year and 59 households were claiming at least £900 a week, equivalent to almost £70,000 before tax.

Not bad Iain, commissioning research you know will enable you to blow your own trumpet!