Bishop of Chelmsford asks Government about help for vulnerable people in debt due to benefit fraud

Chelmsford310119bOn 10th July 2019 the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions made a statement on universal credit fraud. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a  question:

Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: I ask the Minister for a bit of clarification. I do not pretend to understand all the ins and outs of this, but I see a lot of suffering, which now seems to be added to by crime. On the one hand, it is good to hear that it is less than 1%, but that would be no consolation for me if I was one of those people who now has to pay back for the fraud perpetrated against me by someone else. I am sorry if I did not understand the answer. I suppose I am asking the Minister to explain what help those victims will get in the terrible situation they find themselves in.

Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, of course we take this extremely seriously, as I say. We have to be extremely careful to ensure that victims are properly looked after and supported through the process, but also that those who have committed fraud have the full force of criminal justice thrown at them. This is crime. I look forward to the latest British attitudinal survey being published imminently, because the last survey showed that people on the whole felt that some crime was fine, as long as it was not a lot of crime. We have to confront this, look after those who need our support and use our brilliant fraud and investigation teams, working with the CPS, to make sure that those who have committed the crime are brought to justice.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Lab Co-op): My Lords, like the right reverend Prelate, I am a little confused. If there is a brilliant fraud and investigation team and the Minister is genuinely concerned, why did it take a BBC investigation to draw it to our attention?

via Parliament.uk