UK DWP targets benefit recipients for widespread surveillance


Rising suspicion of benefits claimants in the UK led by 2018 to the Department of Work and Pensions' adoption of numerous surveillance tactics, including using social media postings, gym memberships, airport footage, and surveillance video from public buildings including supermarkets, to build cases against claimants. Rates of attempted suicide doubles for disabled claimants between 2007 and 2014, and TV programmes promoting the idea of "lazy skivers" have led to an increase in hate crimes against people on benefits, 15% of whom reported verbal abuse in 2014. Benefit fraud costs the UK government about £1.3 billion a year, and it employs 3,700 investigators; about 0.7% of claims are fraudulent. By contrast, tax evasion costs £34 billion and only 700 people investigate the super-rich.

Writer: Jay Watts

Publication: Guardian

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