Housing benefit fraudsters are on borrowed time

People who commit fraud when claiming housing

benefit will not get away with it - this is the message from East Dunbartonshire Council.

A total of 158 fraud referrals were received by the council in 2014/15 and a total of 649 cases were investigated.

East Dunbartonshire is the only council in Scotland to have reported instances of housing tenancy fraud to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal and to have criminal proceedings instigated as a result.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie, Convener of Policy and Resources, said: “In these times of such financial constraint no fraud is acceptable.

“Our fraud action plan set out how we will investigate the potential for fraudulent claims such as Council Tax reduction or housing tenancy to ensure that the right people are in receipt of the right benefits and housing provision, for the right reasons.”

The Audit Commission has identified housing tenancy fraud – the use of social housing by someone not entitled to occupy that home - as one of the most significant areas of fraud committed against local authorities. This can include unlawful subletting, using false information in a housing application and wrongful tenancy assignment or succession.

Councillor Geekie added: “Whilst some instances of incorrect housing allocation or benefit payment may result from legitimate errors it is really important that we deal with fraud which is being knowingly committed.”

If you have any information about fraud being committed against the council you can report it online at www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/reportfraud, email to fraud@eastdunbarton.gov.uk or phone 0300 124 4510.