Friday, 26 March 2010

Prisoners Receive Benefits

The Department for Work and Pensions overpaid £27 million in income support to inmates who failed to report that they have been sent to jail.

Ministers insisted the fraudulent overpayments had been 'consistently low' and accounted for 'no more than an estimated 0.1% of the overall income support bill'.

£27m has been paid incorrectly from 2004 - 2009 and most of the cash was lost in income support which is a benefit for people on low income who do not have to sign on as unemployed, according to the Jobcentre Plus website.

This is another example of incompetence in government. There is little control in departments and yet, on doubt, senior civil servants in the DWP will receive bonuses for ticking all the boxes. After all to politicians the fraud overpayments were 'consistently low'.

The quicker Scotland breaks free from this deeply flawed system the better. We need to be able to take responsibility for our own mistakes and ensure that any government in an independent Scotland is accountable to us, their paymasters.


Richard T said...

I agree in principle that all this should be under Scottish control. But look at the effectiveness of central Scotland's councils in collecting council tax and administering housing benefit; it is fair question to ask whether a transfer of the bureaucracy to Edinburgh rule would make any difference to the rate of errors.

subrosa said...

You have a point there Richard. When I was young nobody would join the civil service without sitting varying degrees of civil service examinations, unless they had a university degree. That all seems to be a thing of the past nowadays.

Maybe we need to sharpen up again.

Idle Pen Pusher said...

"accounted for 'no more than an estimated 0.1% of the overall income support bill'."

What a fatuous statistic. They really do take us all for fools. What's the bill as a %-age of the income support bill for those who were sent to prison, Minister?

Sandy said...

None of those new databases working then ?

subrosa said...

I have no idea of that answer IPP, but it does show governments departments certainly don't communicate.

subrosa said...

Ah Sandy, wish I'd thought of that! Billions on databases and we're in a worse state than we ever were with paper and pen.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Rosa, fact is whether the data is in IT or paper the real costs is due to us being in the wrong State.

Thought QT and Salmond was a bit flat last night.

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