Benefit cheats will face sentences of up to 10 years, director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer QC has threatened. While punishing fraud by claimants – and frightening people who are honest but fear being targeted – will be popular with parts of the public, the lack of a sense of proportion is worrying.
UK statistics authority chair Andrew Dilnot has criticised work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s misleading claims on the impact of capping benefits. This is not the first time that he, and the department he heads, have been found to have misused statistics.
Do you go to church on Sundays? Do you have young children who need you to look after them on Saturdays, or adult caring responsibilities for even a few hours a week? If you lose your job in the UK, you might be punished with destitution.
Many people have not yet realised the full impact of housing benefit and other welfare reforms threatening further hardship for those already disadvantaged. On political if not humanitarian grounds, the government would do well to stop targeting those in greatest need, says Savi Hensman, examining the specific issue of housing benefit.