Scope responds to calls to 'pin the photos of benefit cheats to lampposts'
6 July 2012
In response to a senior civil servant stating his desire to 'pin the photos of benefit cheats to lampposts', Richard Hawkes, chief executive of disability charity Scope, said:
“Terry Moran’s Wild West-style solution to benefit fraud is unhelpful and counterproductive. He mentions the impact that stories of fraudulent claims have on disabled people. But has he considered the impact his off-the-cuff remarks might equally have?
“The desire to ‘shame’ fraudulent claimants, without any context to the struggle many disabled people face in getting the support they desperately need actually plays into an on-going narrative about the need to weed out scroungers and bring down a bloated benefits bill.
“Worryingly, our polling shows that attitudes towards disabled people are getting worse. Disabled people tell us that increasingly people don’t believe that they are disabled and question their entitlement to support.
“Not everyone is an expert on welfare like Mr Moran and fewer know that official error levels on benefits like Disability Living Allowance are actually higher than the levels of fraud.
“We desperately need a sensible debate about welfare, one that starts with what support disabled people need to live decent lives rather than what can we take away.”