Private sector benefits clampdown

The government is considering using private sector credit firms to help tackle benefit fraud.

Credit rating agencies like Experian are preparing proposals which could see them tasked with rooting out benefit fraudsters, as part of a wider government drive to reduce the annual £5.2 billion cost of fraud and error in the benefits system.

The government says it wants to use publicly available information about UK consumers to check whether claimants' spending habits are in line with the benefits they are receiving.

Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith will outline the government's strategy on dealing with fraud and error this autumn.

Prime minister David Cameron said in a newspaper article published today the review would also look at increasing prosecutions against benefit fraudsters, incentivising individuals to inform officials about others' fraudulent benefit claims and sharpening penalties for fraudsters.

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