Housing consultant Peter Barker has suggested that Government cuts and the strain on the benefits system have made it easier for people to commit housing benefit fraud. His warning follows a report from the National Audit Office which revealed that the Department for Work and Pensions lost £1.4bn in overpayment of housing benefit due to fraud or error in 2013-14 - up from £980m in 2010-11. Mr Barker said that council staff and benefit advisers have been encouraged to cut corners when processing claims in order to hit monthly targets imposed by the DWP. Councils are also coming under increasing pressure because of cuts to staffing and a rise of in-work claimants of housing benefit.
published in The Independent on Sunday