Benefits claimants to have bank accounts checked every month in fraud crackdown.
Those claiming benefits will soon have their bank accounts checked monthly as the government looks to clamp down on fraud.
The Government claim that the new crackdown will save taxpayers an estimated £500 million over the next five years according to The Telegraph. The number of claimants increased throughout the pandemic, and so did fraud.
Under current rules, the Department for Work and Pensions has to request each claimant’s bank account details if they suspect fraud. However all that is about to change. The Government will instruct banks to 'plug in' their monitoring software that will check claimants account activity to ensure that they are following the rules.
A DWP spokesman said: ‘We are already cracking down on those who try to exploit the welfare system in a push to save the taxpayer £1.3bn in the next year."
‘We are ramping up our plans to root out fraud through our Fighting Fraud plan which will bolster the counter-fraud frontline significantly by deploying trained specialists to review millions of Universal Credit claims, among other measures.’
However, director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, stressed the dangers of allowing the government to look at people’s bank accounts. She said: "The government should not intrude on the privacy of anyone’s bank account in this country without very good reason, whether a person is receiving benefits or not." adding "People who are disabled, sick, carers or looking for work should not be treated like criminals by default."
This is seen by freedom campaigners as setting a dangerous precedent and yet another step towards the mass-surveillance culture where privacy and individual sovereignty are things of the past.