LibDems slam govt over tax credit payments

After it emerged that thousands of workers suspected of being illegal
immigrants were given NI numbers, the Liberal Democrats have accused the
government of being careless with taxpayers’ money.

Between April 2003 and December 2004, 2,700 families were wrongly paid
credits by the Inland Revenue.

LibDems work and pensions spokesman David Laws accused the government of
being so desperate to make sure Gordon Brown’s flagship credits scheme work that
they had not used the residency checks usually used for benefits.

He claimed the fraud could add up to more than half a billion pounds a year.

Laws told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that from April 2003 December 2004,
the Treasury relied upon Department of Work and Pensions to issue National
Insurance numbers as a proper check on people’s entitlement to work here.

‘But we now know that the DWP was not actually putting in place the proper
immigration checks.

‘The Treasury was relying on the DWP, the DWP was relying on the Home Office
and the Home Office doesn’t seem to have been doing its job, and as a
consequence millions of pounds have been paid out in tax credits, and possibly
in benefits as well, which shouldn’t have been paid out,’ Law said.

A department spokesman said all fraudulent claims would be pursued and that
all incorrect payments had been stopped.

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