Over £125,000 of fraudulently claimed single person discounts have been identified in Hart as a result of a recent review of the Single Person Discount scheme. More than 325 cases were discovered where discounts were removed, and the full charge is now payable.
Single Person Discount fraud is the most common type of Local Government fraud nationally, totalling £19.4 million in 2019. Hart District Council recognises that this is a serious issue, reducing income that would otherwise be spent on critical public services. Consequently, reviews are regularly undertaken to ensure that those committing fraud are prevented from doing so and that public funds used to provide vital services are thereby protected.
James Radley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Finance & Corporate Services at Hart District Council said:
“Unfortunately, whilst the majority of those claiming discounts are doing so legitimately, there are some who claim fraudulently. Those who are deliberately misleading in their application are cheating other residents out of funds which should be spent on essential services. It is important that as a council we take action to deter such behaviour for the benefit of all our residents.”
The review used new data matching technology provided by the Cabinet Office under the National Fraud Initiative (NFI). This technology is able to compare computer records from different organisations and departments to identify errors and possible fraud which can then be investigated. The technology is already making a difference and will prove invaluable in future in continuing to reduce public sector fraud.
Further information on council tax charges and discounts can be found on our website: https://www.hart.gov.uk/council-tax