Fraud work praised by Audit Commission

Work to cut council tax fraud in Liverpool has been highlighted in a new report by spending watchdog, the Audit Commission.

“Protecting the public purse 2013” examines how local government is tackling the issue.

Liverpool is used as a case study following its success in reducing the number of people falsely claiming they live on their own in order to get a 25 percent council tax discount.

The percentage of households claiming the single persons discount has been reduced from around 46 percent to just over 40 percent since 2010.

It follows a piece of work in which households had their details cross referenced with other information to identify anomalies.

It equates to over 6,000 fewer homes now receiving the benefit, bringing in an additional £1.5 million per year for the council to invest in services.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Every single penny claimed fraudulently by people is a penny less for us to spend on services.

“At a time when we have less money to spend on services due to cuts in our funding from central government, it is more essential than ever that we do everything we can to make sure people are not fiddling the system.

“They are effectively taking money away which could be used for services to benefit their neighbours.

“We continue to review cases robustly but those that are legitimately claiming have nothing to worry about.”
Around 85,000 households claim single person discount in Liverpool and it costs £20 million a year to subsidise.

Liverpool City Council’s Revenues and Benefits Service is run by Liverpool Direct Limited (LDL), a joint venture partnership with BT.