Figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government have revealed that £1.1bn of council tax benefit has been lost to fraud and error since 2006, with £200mn lost in this way alone last year. Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said councils should use new powers over the benefit to tackle the fraud and waste. “Today's figures show that when councils take over the benefit there is lots of money to claw back from wasteful mistakes and fraudsters cheating the system”, he comments. Local authorities are to be handed full control over administering council tax benefit next year, including powers to vary the criteria for receiving it. But the move will be accompanied by a £450mn cut in the overall budget, forcing councils to find savings of almost 10%. Some councils say the move is a thinly-veiled attempt to hand them responsibility for making unpopular cuts.
Source: The Daily Telegraph,