Saturday, 18 April 2009

WOOOOOO Fear

I can remember a conversation with the Head of Housing Benefits back in my days of working at NCC where she expressed frustration with an Evening Post Report which concentrated too much on the anti fraud aspect of HB work. Essentially it was part of her "we're all on the same side aren't we?" speech and I didn't really believe it for a second.

Looks like all that hand wringing has gone out of the window now



If you can't read the text the middle bit says

"Benefit fraud is a crime and takes away vital money from our schools, hospitals, police and more..."

Errr, you sure about that? Yes of course it is a crime but has there ever been an incident where Chief Plod was told that he can't launch another pre-emptive raid on some protesters because Betty Higgins* of Bulwell has been doing a little cleaning job on the side? If so its tempting to say 'bring it on!'

You see the thing is that budgets for schools and hospitals, as well as the aforementioned plod, are all worked out without any reference to benefit expenditure, fraudulent or otherwise. 95% of benefit expenditure comes from central government and is entirely led by how much is claimed. There's no point reached where the pot runs dry and your benefit stops.

Its too easy a target I know but is it worth pointing out that throwing money away in dodgy Icelandic banks is likely to have a far greater effect on local budgets?

And benefit 'fraud' is often confused with 'error' in official stats, including errors by officials. There's also the amount of benefit underclaimed because benefits offices don't put much effort into promoting the benefits that are quite legally available. For example NCC has sucessfully saved central government about half a million quid in grants by keeping Discretionary Housing Payments effectively secret. Well done them.

But they're 'closing in'. They're coming to get you. WOOOOOOO!!!! FEAR!!!!!! You're probably already guilty of 'conspiracy' to commit benefit fraud in these days of pre-emptive strikes. Best not to bother claiming anything in the first place eh?

Update; now there's a news story on fraud prosecutions on the NCC website. Eve Posts churnalists have written up the press release more or less verbatim. Might be worth an article in itself, we'll see.

*I made this name up. I have no idea whether there really is a Betty Higgins in Bulwell or if she has a cleaning job, legitimate or not. If there is I can only apologise and hope I don't get you into any trouble.

8 comments:

A. Regular REader said...

Would the real Betty Higgins please stand up...

A. Regular Reader said...

Would the real Betty Higgins please step forward... There's a blast from the past!

Local chap said...

OMG!

Wasn't she deposed as leader in a putsch instigated by the Collins/Chapman axis?

Lobbydog said...

Didn't Betty Higgins have a turn as NCC Chief Executive somewhere down the line?

Local chap said...

I don't think she was Chief Exec but she was leader for a while in the 90s I think.

Bent Society said...

WHO WILL USE TAX PAYERS MONEY TO PUT UP POSTERS WARNING THAT NEGLIGENTLY INVESTING TAX PAYERS MONEY IN THINGS SUCH AS KNOWN HIGH RISK BANKS WILL REDUCE SERVICES?

Bent Society said...

Questionmarc please get to work on our behalf at your own expense!

A. Regular Reader said...

There is a BBC News article on NCC and benefit fraud.