The Treasury has revealed that benefits cheats falsely claimed more than £200,000 in the first half of the current financial year.
In addition, the intervention of Treasury’s inspectors saved taxpayers a further £160,000 that would have been paid out if fraudulent claims had not been identified and the benefits stopped.
Ralph Peake MHK, member of the Treasury with responsibility for social security matters, said:
‘Benefit fraud is not a soft or victimless crime. It takes away money which could otherwise be used to support those who genuinely need it. Treasury has a duty to protect the public purse and we will take appropriate action against those who seek to defraud the public purse.’
During the first half of this year eight individuals were prosecuted for benefit fraud worth between £2,000 and £13,000. Two of these received prison sentences, while the others were either fined or ordered to carry out community service orders.
Mr Peake added:
‘The Treasury will continue to do everything in its power to identify and investigate instances of benefit fraud and we are grateful to those people who take the time and trouble to contact us to report their suspicions. We are committed to ensuring that benefit payments are made appropriately to support those most in need.’