Mr Cameron claims that a benefits shake-up is required to save the country £5.2billion.
Trumpets blare and voices shout as the government announces “£5.2billion is lost every year to benefits fraud” but drops to a whisper as they continue with “and error”. In fact only £1.5billion is lost to fraud while £3.7billion is lost to incompetence and error within the Civil Service that administers the system.
Certainly benefit fraud must be tackled and there is much in the media delighting at the measures being put into place to stop fraudulent claims.
We are patiently waiting for Mr Cameron and the government to make announcements on how they plan to stem the loss of revenue that results from the errors of departments such as the DWP staff across the country. Where are the penalties for staff that consistently get it wrong? Where are the controls to prevent spending £730million on a computer system that never got switched on?
Mr Cameron says that more needs to be done to stop fraud and that it “is simply not acceptable” yet nothing is being said about the larger problem; the inherent waste that has become institutionally accepted by the same system that is organising this witch hunt against the most vulnerable.
Cutting fraud and bureaucracy in welfare is all well and good but we need to hear more about how the government is going to tackle this ‘bureaucracy in welfare’ Mr Cameron talks about which is, after all, responsible for £3.7billion in wasted revenue.
When government agencies such as Remploy lose £2.2million every week while adopting the ‘bonus culture’ of the bankers in giving directors £1.7million in bonuses while putting 2,500 disabled people on the dole; we have to ask if the government have their priorities right.
Teresa May branded the DWP “not fit for purpose” in 2008 when they paid out £73million in benefits to people who had died – more needs to be done to deal with the institutional incompetence that is rife in local government and the civil service.
Maria Miller, the Minister for Disabled People plans to kick one in five claimants off DLA to stop the media branding them as workshy scroungers and she says that it is “not particularly helpful” to blame the government for anti-claimant propaganda when it is all the fault of the media.
It is fundamentally wrong for the government to instigate a witch hunt against disabled and vulnerable people when the country is reeling from the shock of government incompetence in causing the huge recession this country finds itself in. It doesn’t matter what colour was in power when it happened, we should remember that Prime Ministers come and go while the civil servants remain in place.
It is fundamentally wrong for the people of this country to bear the brunt of initiatives to claw back money to the Treasury when the banks and their bonus culture thrives and the £trillions poured into them by the tax payer is not being repaid to the them but rather going into the very pockets of those responsible for the near-collapse in the first place.