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DWP could soon be able to track where people go on holiday under new scheme to end benefit fraud

DWP could soon be able to track where people go on holiday under new scheme to end benefit fraud
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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recently published the results of a survey measuring public reaction to proposed new powers to tackle fraud, error and debt in the welfare system.


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For each of the six potential new measures outlined in the British Social Attitudes Survey, there are more respondents who view power as acceptable than those who view it as unacceptable.

Potential legislative measures from the inquiry include giving the DWP greater access to third-party data, collecting information about where claimants spend money, requiring banks to share information account information that indicates someone is committing fraud and the ability for trained investigators to identify and execute search and seizure warrants and empower them to make arrests.

Two of the potential new powers were considered “completely unacceptable” by more than 10% of the overall sample: the power to make arrests (13%) and a scenario in which the DWP could collect Collect information from an airline to determine where a supplier is traveling (11%).

The survey was completed by 2,127 people between June 15 and 21, 2023, comprising a nationally representative sample of 1,782 people and a boost of 345 additional claimants.

Potential new powers and impacts

Overall, the survey identified that the power to share data between governments is generally considered acceptable, while the proposed arrest power is generally considered the least acceptable. The list below shows each potential new power and the percentage of acceptable responses.

Potential power

Government organisations sharing data with DWP about claimants

  • Acceptable – 70%
  • Acceptable among claimants – 58%

Asking banks to share information about accounts which look like someone may be committing fraud

  • Acceptable – 64%
  • Acceptable among claimants – 51%

Collecting banking information as soon as fraud is suspected, rather than waiting for a criminal investigation

  • Acceptable – 60%
  • Acceptable among claimants – 47%

Trained DWP investigators having search and seizure powers

  • Acceptable – 59%
  • Acceptable among claimants – 44%

Collecting information about where claimants are spending money

  • Acceptable – 52%
  • Acceptable among claimants – 37%

Trained DWP investigators having arrest powers

  • Acceptable – 51%
  • Acceptable among claimants – 39%

The report on GOV.UK said: “Within the group of DWP claimants, there were consistently lower proportions of people considering the new powers to be acceptable and higher proportions of people considering them unacceptable.

“However, even within this group, there were more people considering the new powers to be acceptable than people who thought they were unacceptable, for every power except collecting information about where claimants were spending money, where more claimants thought it was unacceptable (41%) than acceptable (37%).

“However, when described in the form of a scenario, more claimants thought this power was acceptable (42%) than unacceptable (36%). Some of these differences were small, with claimants fairly evenly split on the acceptability of arrest powers (39% acceptable vs. 37% unacceptable).”

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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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