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Fraud Inspectors Tackle London's Housing Benefit Cheats

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-24259715

Fraud inspectors tackle London's Housing Benefit cheats

The City of Westminster has some of the most expensive homes in the world, so it is surprising that some residents are able to rent luxury properties and claim housing benefits.

Inside Out's Mark Jordan joins Westminster Council's fraud inspectors in a raid on one of hundreds of illegal sub-lets.

The cost to the taxpayer from these fraudulent claims is estimated to be around £10m in lost revenue.

Westminster Council's anti-fraud tsar, Councillor Lindsey Hall, talks about the challenges of tackling the problem and dealing with what she describes as "outrageous" cases.

Inside Out is broadcast on Monday, 30 September on BBC One London at 19:30 BST and nationwide thereafter on the iPlayer.

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So that'll be the other half of the story we had a few weeks ago where London councils were going after the worst landlords.

Sounds like a start on both ends of a problem. But will it go further than a few token investigations/prosecutions in either case?

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They should get rid of housing benefit in its entirety and give a Citizens' Income for all.

Has any country ever successfully implemented a citizens' income?

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Has any country ever successfully implemented a citizens' income?

Alaska.

Other countries have sovereign wealth funds, with which they help fund amenities such as a health service. That's a political choice though, they could just pay a dividend.

Even if there were no precedent, which there is, I'm not sure what that tells us.

Democracy was a crazy, untried idea once, as was a national health service, and any number of other things.

The major flaw with citizens income is that it is probably incompatible with mass immigration and the EU.

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Alaska.

Population <750,000, sitting on vast reserves of oil and gas. They're paying out $900 this year.

You could also have mentioned Kuwait.

Other countries have sovereign wealth funds, with which they help fund amenities such as a health service. That's a political choice though, they could just pay a dividend.

Soverign wealth funds

Almost exclusively oil rich states with small populations.

Even if there were no precedent, which there is, I'm not sure what that tells us.

That a CI isn't practical unless it's funded out of massive oil revenues.

Democracy was a crazy, untried idea once, as was a national health service, and any number of other things.

There are plenty of patently insane things that haven't been tried either and with good reason.

The major flaw with citizens income is that it is probably incompatible with mass immigration and the EU.

The major flaw is that the numbers don't stack up.

The proposal is to scrap all benefits and replace it with a CI. Alaska manages to pay out $900 p/a, could you live off £500 per year.

Lets say we give everyone a minimum survivable amount of say £500 per month. £6,000 per year times 65m people equals £390 billion pounds, how on earth is the government going to fund that?

I suppose if we scrapped the NHS and cut the education budget in half it might be just about do-able but I'm not sure you'd get widespread support for that.

Edited by Goat

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The major flaw is that the numbers don't stack up.

Lets say we give everyone a minimum survivable amount of say £500 per month. £6,000 per year times 65m people equals £390 billion pounds, how on earth is the government going to fund that?

The average tax bill will rise by £5000 or whatever is necessary to balance the books (yeah, I know they're not balanced now)

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They should get rid of housing benefit in its entirety and give a Citizens' Income for all.

Then you wouldn't get any of this fraud nonsense. And people would make economic decisions about where to live. On yer bikes.

There is never going to be a 'Citizens' income'.

Never.

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The major flaw with citizens income is that it is probably incompatible with mass immigration and the EU.

That's an easy fix. To qualify for CI you must have proof of 25 years of UK residency.

With a flat rate Income Tax of say 35%, then anyone earning £17142pa or more pays for their own CI.

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That's an easy fix. To qualify for CI you must have proof of 25 years of UK residency.

What if you're under 25 years old.

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What if you're under 25 years old.

Then you don't get it. Personally, I'd go with 18 rather than 25. Your "it's unaffordable" is missing the point. Anyone with a half-decent salary will be not see any benefit from CI. The only thing you need to guarantee is that a. it's enough to survive on, and b. that you're always better off working.

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Then you don't get it. Personally, I'd go with 18 rather than 25.

So if you're under 25 (or 18) and can't find work you can starve.

If you've got 2 kids and lose your job, tough s***; one lot of £6,000 is all you get.

I had imagined that CI was a left wing policy but you present it as an extreme right wing policy, am I right?

Your "it's unaffordable" is missing the point. Anyone with a half-decent salary will be not see any benefit from CI. The only thing you need to guarantee is that a. it's enough to survive on, and b. that you're always better off working.

Only if you limit it to working age people and ignore the fact that they might have children, but if you're going to do that you might as well scrap all benefits except JSA and single room rate HB.

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So if you're under 25 (or 18) and can't find work you can starve.

If you've got 2 kids and lose your job, tough s***; one lot of £6,000 is all you get.

I had imagined that CI was a left wing policy but you present it as an extreme right wing policy, am I right?

Well, I didn't go into details (and since I'm in no position to do anything but support the idea, it didn't seem necessary). Personally, I'd support an incremental increase in CI. Say the full amount at 18 and 5% (approx.) increase per year prior to that. I would also not necessarily preclude hardship and disability payments in addition to the CI.

What I would like to include as a principle is that, if you have kids, for the first few years they are going to cost you. That's the truth for anyone in employment (above benefits threshold).

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Finally watching this. Who are they blaming? They gave them the flats, they didn't check, now it's the fault of the people who landed in lala land?

I am flabbergasted that they make a tv show on their own total complete failure and blame it on the people they put there.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-24259715

Fraud inspectors tackle London's Housing Benefit cheats

The City of Westminster has some of the most expensive homes in the world, so it is surprising that some residents are able to rent luxury properties and claim housing benefits.

Inside Out's Mark Jordan joins Westminster Council's fraud inspectors in a raid on one of hundreds of illegal sub-lets.

The cost to the taxpayer from these fraudulent claims is estimated to be around £10m in lost revenue.

Westminster Council's anti-fraud tsar, Councillor Lindsey Hall, talks about the challenges of tackling the problem and dealing with what she describes as "outrageous" cases.

Inside Out is broadcast on Monday, 30 September on BBC One London at 19:30 BST and nationwide thereafter on the iPlayer.

They want to tackle the whole of the UK and the benefits system in its entirety. ITS A BIG FIDDLE.and a complete mess which is pulling the country down.

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Well, I didn't go into details (and since I'm in no position to do anything but support the idea, it didn't seem necessary).

So you support the idea without thinking about what's involved and how it would work.

Fair enough.

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So you support the idea without thinking about what's involved and how it would work.

Fair enough.

Are you trolling? I didn't say that I didn't think about it, I said that I didn't feel it necessary to list the full details every time the subject came up. What's your problem?

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Are you trolling? I didn't say that I didn't think about it, I said that I didn't feel it necessary to list the full details every time the subject came up.

It read like that to me but fair enough.

Could you let me have some details of how you actually think it will work, including the costs involved, number of people qualifying and effects on taxes and other benefits.

What's your problem?

That people keep repeating the phrase "citizens income" without explaining what they are asking for and seemingly without thinking about it.

And to repeat, there is no remotely comparable country in the world that has introduced a citizens income.

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It read like that to me but fair enough.

Could you let me have some details of how you actually think it will work, including the costs involved, number of people qualifying and effects on taxes and other benefits.

Try the second page of this pdf

http://www.citizensincome.org/filelibrary/Archived%20Publications/Student%20leaflet%20May%202008.pdf

I don't agree with their version 100% (the initial exclusion of housing benefit is a fatal flaw imho), but it's close enough.

Has any country tried it? No, but I really don't see why that's relevant.

Edited by tomandlu

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They want to tackle the whole of the UK and the benefits system in its entirety. ITS A BIG FIDDLE.and a complete mess which is pulling the country down.

Absolutely 100% agree with you. It is a COMPLETE mess - and what needs to happen is - it's all taken apart - and we start again. This time - we actually CHECK things.... :rolleyes:

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Try the second page of this pdf

http://www.citizensincome.org/filelibrary/Archived%20Publications/Student%20leaflet%20May%202008.pdf

I don't agree with their version 100% (the initial exclusion of housing benefit is a fatal flaw imho), but it's close enough.

Thanks, will look at and get back to you.

Has any country tried it? No, but I really don't see why that's relevant.

Kind of implies that it doesn't work and isn't a good idea, otherwise there's a strong chance someone would've tried it already.

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That people keep repeating the phrase "citizens income" without explaining what they are asking for and seemingly without thinking about it.

And to repeat, there is no remotely comparable country in the world that has introduced a citizens income.

It's just Child Benefit for the over 16's.

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Thanks, will look at and get back to you.

Ok, this link (same source) seems to be more up to date: Citizens Income 2013

My brief reading of the proposal is that it would lead to a massive cut in benefits for people on lower incomes with children and the main beneficiaries would be people on higher incomes with children and non-working spouses.

Some rough examples (ignoring HB):

Single parent (old), 2 children, working 16 hours a week minimum wage. Current approximate income: employment £6,000, benefits £12,000, total £18,000.

Single parent (new), New approximate income: employment (less 32% tax) £4,080, CI £9,500, total £13,600.

Worse off by £4,400.

Married couple (old), 2 children, non working wife, husband earns say £80,000 p/a. Current approximate income: employment £54,400, benefits nil.

Married couple (new), New approximate income: employment £51,200, CI £13,234, total say £64,400.

Better off by £10,000.

The above based on "entitled to" benefits calculator, earnings calculations assume £10,000 personal allowance (withdrawn under CI) lower rate tax of 32% and higher rate tax of 40% on earnings above £40,000.

Is this really the effect you wanted to see?

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Is this really the effect you wanted to see?

Either the amount is enough to survive on, in which case yes, or it's not, in which case the CI needs to be increased. It's worth noting on the PDF they address the change-over as people adjust to a new regime. I'm certainly not out to bash the poor - I want to see the benefits trap eliminated, and people having the confidence to know that work will always pay.

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