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16 Jun 2017

Preston Council recovers funds from residents

A zero-tolerance approach to benefit fraud has seen £140,000 recovered from residents in Preston. Council bosses say the clawed back funds will be essential as they “strive to do more for less” in the wake of significant funding cuts. (h/t FraudManager)

Officers also recovered four social housing properties not being used as the tenants’ principal home during the last financial year.

They found £140,876 worth of over-payments caused by fraudulent claims or residents not reporting changes in circumstances affecting their benefits.

A council spokesman said: “The Government’s austerity programme has led to a substantial reduction in funding and this means that as a council we must strive to do more for less. “It is vital that we ensure our limited funds are directed towards the provision of essential services and that we minimise our losses to fraud. Preston City Council has a duty to safeguard public funds and therefore has adopted a zero tolerance approach to fraud. As such, we have a Corporate Inquiry Team, which works closely with the police and other agencies to prevent, detect and deter fraud against the council and its partners.”

The overpayments consisted of council tax reduction scheme funds totalling £34,940, council tax benefit of £3,089, housing benefit of £45,668, council tax of £55,726 and business rates of £1,452.

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