The Scottish secretary, Jim Murphy, has put the idea of people who ‘snitch’ on benefit cheats being given a financial gain from the resulted savings to the state to Labour’s manifesto co-ordinator Ed Miliband.
The idea has already be looked at by Downing Street as a way to reinforce its Respect agenda which is designed to convince sceptics that the state is on the side of hard working families. It is reported that No. 10 is attracted to the idea as it would show fairness and demonstrate that Labour genuinely supports those in need just as long as they play by the rules.
Benefit cheat hot-lines were first began gathering information in 2001-2008, however this is the first time that anyone who informs of suspected benefit cheats would be rewarded financially. The potential for innocent people being wrongly accused of benefit fraud is also a concern. Opposers to the idea claim that it would lead to an influx of malicious accusations, as well as problems in determining whether the ‘snitch’ was actually responsible for the benefit cheat being caught.
After the successful Labour by-elections campaigns in Glenrothes and Glasgow North East, Jim Murphy was struck by the consensus that that Labour voters wanted to hear a message which emphasises “firm but fair rules”. Murphy believes that there are many people who like to see the government financially reward those who gave the ‘tip-off’ about benefit cheats. He also pointed out that “the proposals were designed to end anti-social behaviour that increases the taxes other people pay”. However some critics claim that “the hot-lines reduced social cohesion and made innocent citizens the victims of deranged neighbours determined to cause misery”.
Those who have been accused of benefit fraud are advised to contact law firms which have expert benefit fraud solicitors working as part of their team, as the complexities of benefit fraud accusations can be emotionally stressful for innocent victims of malicious accusations. If youhave been accused of benefit fraud, contact David Phillips & Partners solicitors via the online enquiry form or on 0800 0800 027 7870