In a move that is hoped will cut the £1.2bn lost to benefit fraud every year, Ministers have announced benefit cheats are to be credit checked. The Department of Work and Pensions will undertake the checks to see if they have any valuable assets.
Iain Duncan-Smith is said to have ordered the change on the instruction of the Prime Minister, who believes calling in bailiffs to confiscate and sell expensive items, such as cars and computers, will prove to be a strong deterrent.
“Getting the welfare budget under control is a key part of our long-term plan for the economy,” a spokesman said.
“We want to end the something for nothing culture and deliver for people who want to work hard and play by the rules.”
Some checks already take place but they are rare and only happen if the DWP has had a tip off. In future the checks will be a routine part of any investigation.
The government has already made a number of steps towards cutting the fraud bill, including the launch of a scheme to encourage claimants to tell the DWP about changes in their circumstances.