Bank Accounts to be Scanned Monthly
As part of a major government crackdown on fraud, Brits on benefits will have their bank accounts checked every month. The new law is set to be confirmed at the Autumn Statement on November 22.
Reducing the Number of Brits on Benefits
The government hopes that by implementing these monthly bank account checks, it will be able to reduce the number of Brits on out-of-work benefits, which currently stands at 5.4 million.
Fighting Fraud and Ensuring Fairness
A government source stated that every pound stolen by fraudsters could be spent on public services or on those most in need. The Department for Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride, believes it is profoundly wrong that benefit cheats are not playing by the rules and is determined to bring fairness for the taxpayer.
Mandated Monthly Checks
Under the new laws, banks will be required to run monthly checks for signs of suspicious activity. Currently, the Department for Work and Pensions has to make individual requests to access bank accounts if they suspect fraud.
Public Support for Frequent Bank Account Checks
A recent public consultation found that over half of the respondents (52%) found the idea of frequent bank account checks to be acceptable. Additionally, 62% viewed fraud and error in the welfare system as a big problem.
Autumn Statement Announcement
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will announce the crackdown on benefits fraud, along with any changes to taxes and spending on public services, such as the NHS and schools, on November 22. Hunt has warned against expecting major tax cuts due to inflation not decreasing enough. However, there are increasing calls from Tory MPs for a change in approach, as they fear the party will suffer in next year's general election without significant tax cuts.