DWP staff to get police powers! – to investigate the poorest people on Universal Credit

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Campaigners against Universal Credit warn of its 'Hostile Environment' now to be enforced with arrests and home searches

DWP STAFF are to get police powers, the Tory government announced yesterday to investigate the poorest people on Universal Credit.

The DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) declared on its website: ‘A £600 million plan to fight fraud in the welfare system will introduce a range of new powers and boost the counter-fraud frontline, saving the taxpayer £2 billion over three years.

  • Over £600 million to bolster the counter-fraud frontline with thousands of trained specialists, stopping around £2 billion in fraud over three years.
  • New powers planned for specialist Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) staff to arrest and carry out search and seizure.
  • Measures also include boosted access to bank data on a larger scale and a new civil penalty will prevent fraud going unpunished.

‘Announced by Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey today, the “Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System” plan outlines how 2,000 trained specialists will review over two million Universal Credit claims over the next five years, as part of bolstered ambitions to ensure money is well spent and give taxpayers confidence that funds are reaching those who need it.
‘Measures also include several new powers which will align DWP with other government departments including HMRC.
‘The new plan sets out how DWP officers will be given powers to undertake arrests, execute warrants, conduct searches and seize evidence – all increasing their ability to tackle the most serious cases. (News Line emphasis)
‘The plan also proposes introducing a new civil penalty to ensure those who commit fraud face adequate punishment.
‘Additionally, the measures include the power to require organisations, such as banks, to securely share data on a larger scale. Currently, the DWP can only request data on identifiable individuals.
‘This change will allow DWP to proactively identify potentially fraudulent claims – for example knowing if claimants have too much in savings or are living abroad which would make them ineligible for Universal Credit.
‘Further powers will improve the department’s access to information from a wider range of organisations, growing the department’s ability to drive fraud out of the benefit system.’
Minister for Government Efficiency, Jacob Rees -Mogg said: ‘This plan builds on the announcement of the new Public Sector Fraud Authority, which will use data analytics to recover money stolen from the taxpayer.
‘The new powers will be granted by Parliament, subject to securing time and approval.
‘Other measures announced today include creating the Fraud Prevention Advisory Group to bring together government and external experts to identify and develop innovative ways to crack down on fraudsters, including through more flexible and proactive use of data.’