date: 9 May 2013
embargo: For immediate release
Commenting on figures published today (Thursday) by the Department for Work and Pensions, which show that benefit fraud accounts for just 0.7 per cent of the welfare budget, TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said:
'People have been brainwashed into believing that the benefits system is riddled with fraud. In fact it accounts for just 0.7 per cent of the welfare budget and that proportion is not increasing.
'While benefit fraud is a problem, these figures show there is a significant issue with underpayment too, with one in ten housing benefit claimants being underpaid at a time when living costs are soaring.
'Instead of seeking to demonise those on benefits, ministers should be getting tough on tax-evading companies who are cheating the Treasury out of £25bn a year.'
Polling carried out by the TUC in January, showed that on average people think that 27 per cent of the welfare budget is claimed fraudulently. The government's own figure is 0.7 per cent.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The DWP statistics can be viewed at: http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd2/index.php?page=fraud_error
- The TUC poll can be found at: http://bit.ly/RG0XNh
- The TUC's Campaign Plan can be downloaded from www.tuc.org.uk/campaignplan
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews
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Issued: 9 May, 2013