FULL FACT: ‘Is benefit fraud at a “record high”?’ ~ The Sun’s Lies & Propaganda Exposed AGAIN

Full Fact


‘While this has seen a concurrent growth in fraud in cash terms, the level of fraud as a proportion of the size of the benefits bill has actually remained fairly constant between 0.6% and 0.8% in the past five years, and actually fell in the most recent year’

21 January, 2013 – 18:17 — Owen Spottiswoode

While international stories dominated the weekend front pages, the sums of money available to benefits claimants remained the hot domestic topic, and two Sunday papers added more fuel to the fire by claiming yesterday that “new figures” show that fraud in the welfare system has hit a record high.

The Sun on Sunday wrote that “false claims hit a record £5.3billion” while the Sunday Express warned that a new taskforce would leave “no stone unturned” as it cracked down on benefits cheats.

However where do these “new figures” come from?

We got in touch with the papers to ask if they could provide any more information, although as yet neither has been forthcoming. So what can we tell from the information that is publicly available?

A closer reading of both articles reveals that the £5.3 billion figure refers to the amount supposedly claimed fraudulently over a period of five years.

The first port of call for figures on benefit fraud is usually the DWP’s series ‘Fraud and Error in the Benefit System‘ and using this we can take a look at the value of the fraud detected by the Department over the past half a decade.

These figures aren’t exactly new – the final revised estimates were published last month, while provisional figures were available even earlier – but they do nevertheless provide us with some insight into the numbers quoted in the papers.

Table 3.3 of the most recent release shows that since 2007/08, the combined value of fraud is indeed estimated to be £5.3bn:


Both the Sun on Sunday and the Sunday Express report that the figures:

“reveal that cheating included £1.33 billion in housing benefit lost to fraud in the past five years. In the same period, cheats robbed the taxpayer of £610 million in JobSeekers’ Allowance, £1.08 billion in Income Support and £620 million of Pension Credit.”

These numbers too tally with the totals given in the accompanying DWP tables, as we can see from this graph:

However there are questions about whether or not it is a ‘record’ total. Recent years have seen increases to the sums paid out through the welfare system, as well as an increase in claimants following the two periods of recession.

While this has seen a concurrent growth in fraud in cash terms, the level of fraud as a proportion of the size of the benefits bill has actually remained fairly constant between 0.6% and 0.8% in the past five years, and actually fell in the most recent year.






  • Humanity2012 January 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    What about the MPS Expenses Scandal Continuing Outrage

    Why Always the Poorest Persecuted ?

    Diabolical and Disgusting

  • Kelpiemare January 28, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    The main culprit for fraud? mps and their expenses. Then there’s the government. Defrauding the sick/disabled/vulnerable. They change rules to suit themselves, so as to profit (shares in private companies benefiting from NHS sell-off; work(un)fair where free labour is made available to immoral companies AND, regrettably, charities); it’s all a bit robber baronish….taking all of us back to the days of the Norman conquest.

  • jed goodright January 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    don’t worry – we’ll soon have all the disabled people lying face down on the ground on the route of the new HS2 from London to Birmingham and beyond so that those with friends in high places can manipulate yet another means to line the pockets of the rich – what’s happened to the disabled lying on the ground – nothing they can stay there , it’s cheaper than looking after them

  • laz January 28, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    The Norman conquest,think you hit the nail on the head there.For some reason there seems a geat deal of reluctance by those with the knowledge and means to end the persicution of the less able.Only ahigher power than the elected MP`s could weild that type of influence which makes one wonder if our “Democracy” has been eroded and destroyed by those who lost their absolute power hundreds of years past .

  • DAVID SHAW January 28, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Lying Nazi government using Mein Kampf as their template, and demonzing one group of society ie the disabled to take the blame for all of the things that are going wrong. Hitler did it with the jews, Cameron is using the disabled. Truth being all the current mess is down to them, the coalition government and they are too feckless and gutless to admit it.

  • Boadacia! January 28, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Soon Murdoch and his puppet-politico’s will be exterminating all his best customers!

  • Humanity2012 January 30, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    I Heard something Today which makes my Blood Boil Even More

    Apparently Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy will be Tested to See if
    they can Work or Not

    This is Beyond a Diabolical Joke

    Stop Sleep Walking About Britain WAKE UP and Get Out and Protest

  • jay January 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    The shitty Sun strikes again why do people read this stupid paper? Were the lies they told about the Hillsborough diaster not enough to put people off them.

    Whether these figures are correct or not, what is astonishing is the official error figures. What sort of set up is it when the DWP are making errors of 1billion and nearly 1 billion in the last six years, what a poorly run department it is.

    When these papers are bleating about money lost to the tax payer, they should be reminded that EVERYONE pays tax – except for certain rich multi national corporate companies and rich tax dodgers.

    How much tax payer money is shovelled into private companies such as Atossers and Workfare parasites?

    Yet you don’t see them printing headlines about the scamming activities of the rich.

    • PJO January 30, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      Jay, it’s the Zombie, wage slaves who read these shitty red top rags, the ones who can’t see beyond the end of their noses and buy into all the Bullsh*t they get fed, After all if it’s in black & white, on the printed page then it must be true!

  • jeffery davies January 30, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    the only benefit fruad is those in parliment who got their hands in the till jeff3

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