More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud

Another day, another outraged Daily Mail 'benefit scroungers' story - one which, once again, is sensationalist, tells only half the story and features the obligatory quote from Tory work and pensions minister "Calamity" Chris Grayling.

Another day, another outraged Daily Mail ‘benefit scroungers’ story – one which, once again, is sensationalist, tells only half the story and features the obligatory quote from Tory work and pensions minister “Calamity” Chris Grayling. The headline screamed “More than £1BILLION lost to disability benefit fraud and error – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg” – that’s £1 billion over six years, the vast majority of it down to error, not fraud; not that you’d know it from the headline.

Independent fact-checking website FullFact.org today took the Mail to task and unearthed the real figures. Patrick Casey reports:

When we contacted the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to find the relevant figures, we were directed to statistics, given nearly a month ago, in a written parliamentary answer to Labour MP, Phil Wilson. Given that concerns have previously been raised about the lumping of fraud and error together in news reports, it is worth checking how the two add up for the DLA.

Looking at the figures for the last year, which can also be found in Table 2.1 of the DWP statistics on benefit fraud and error (published 27 May), it can be seen that while £220 million was lost in fraud and error, only £60 million of this was actually fraud…

Underpayments through error for 2008/9 are estimated at £290 million – £70 million more than the amount overpaid through error and fraud. Looking back at previous years, a trend emerges, as the table below shows:

Year Overpayments   Underpayments   Net
2006/7 £170 million £230 million + £60 million
2007/8 £190 million £250 million + £60 million
2008/9 £200 million £260 million + £60 million
2009/10 £220 million £290 million + £70 million

Such figures do not in any way make fraudulent claims any more permissible, they simply highlight a bigger picture, ignored by the report in the Daily Mail. The estimated amount lost to fraud for 2009/10 was £60 million, less than a quarter of the amount not paid to people through errors leading to underpayments.

Looking at the balance of payments caused by error, it can be seen that errors caused £160 million in overpayments, but amounted to £290 million in underpayments.

FullFact conclude that:

While there is nothing inaccurate about the statistics quoted in the Daily Mail report, the article completely ignores the other statistics that should go hand in hand with any record of overpayments. The large sums for both overpayments and underpayments, suggest room for improvement in efficiency when the Work and Pensions Secretary unveils his reforms to the system in the coming months.

But these figures show that if Iain Duncan Smith managed to create a system with all DLA claimants receiving the correct amount, the Government could actually stand to lose several million. Perhaps this is what the headline meant when it announced the figures represented, “the tip of the iceberg.”

Last week, Left Foot Forward exposed the secret briefings on workless households from the DWP, which led to several stories in the right-wing press about 250,000 households in the UK ‘where no one has ever had a job’, again accompanied by quotes from Mr Grayling; and the week before City AM reported that the DWP had claimed that the proportion of households in London where no-one has ever had a job was 23 per cent – the true figure is seven per cent.

For a full list of Grayling’s calamities this year see here.

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32 Responses to “More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud”

  1. Robster

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  2. wilson

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  3. Acid Fascists

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  4. Tim Brown

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  5. thehooleys

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  6. Beatrice Bray

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud http://bit.ly/99uqxu

  7. Peter Campbell

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud http://bit.ly/99uqxu

  8. Yakoub

    Last year, we had our final (insha Allah) DLA re-assessment for our ASD/SLD son, and got High Rate DLA for life. But not before having his benefits stopped, jumping thru a thousand hoops, etc – as if our son was any less profoundly autistic than when we were last put through the treadmill. DLA is essential – his complex needs present an enormous challenge, and our struggle to endure is a daily one. But we are articulate middle class parents – how many less capable parents (and consequently less resourceful in managing their child’s disability, hence even more in need) have been fucked over in respect of benefit claims such as this is anyone’s guess.

  9. Michael J. Gorman

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  10. Nadia

    The Fail in another classic. God I hate that publication. RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  11. Nadia

    The Fail in another classic. God I hate that publication. RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  12. -

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  13. -

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  14. winston k moss

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  15. DrKMJ

    More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev via @leftfootfwd

  16. Gideon Osborne

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  17. Bexy

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  18. LockPickerNet

    More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev via @leftfootfwd

  19. Hitchin England

    More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev via @leftfootfwd

  20. Chris

    @Yakoub

    I hear you man, a close relative of mine has a severe disability and we’ve just heard they want to downgrade the level they get despite them being worse than when they last assessed. Not looking forward to the medical which Osborne and Clegg are forcing on all DLA applicants, if its like the ESA your’ll have to be on a life support machine to qualify.

  21. Kevin Richards

    Come on The Mail if your goin to print it print it correct and dont mislead the public published in leftfoot forward @: http://bit.ly/99uqxu

  22. Shamik Das

    RT @#leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  23. Mehdi Hasan

    RT @shamikdas: RT @#leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  24. Tim Phillips-White

    RT @ns_mehdihasan: RT @shamikdas: RT @#leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  25. dontplaymepayme

    RT @shamikdas: RT @#leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  26. Fiona Watson

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  27. Anne Billson

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  28. Fatim Jumabhoy

    RT @ns_mehdihasan: RT @#leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev <<< £60 million is still unacceptable!

  29. Press Not Sorry

    RT @leftfootfwd: More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud: http://bit.ly/903Qev

  30. christina evans

    I am afraid of going out now.Feeling I am geting stared at when my husband parks in disabled bay,putting out blue badge. At one time felt sympathy from people because of been a wheelchair user, now I feel they are looking and thinking BENEFIT SCROUNGING SCUM. Feeling people are patronising you is infinitely better than feeling the resentment. hey maybe we will get sent to deathcamps soon,that willhelp the economy no end. sincerely feeling suicidal with these attacks on everyone who is on benefits,next thing i have heard is bloody bounty hunters,God what next?

  31. Kellie

    RT @leftfootfwd More Mail manipulation over benefit fraud http://bit.ly/903Qev

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