« Previous | Main | Next »

Britain on the Fiddle

It is estimated that £22billion of taxpayers' money is effectively stolen or lost every year through fraud and error across all government departments.

A significant chunk of that is benefit fraud - money that could end up being taken out of the pockets of those in genuine need.

In this Panorama Special, Richard Bilton uses undercover cameras to expose people on benefits sailing yachts and driving Bentleys.

And he follows fraud investigators as they tackle the rising tide of benefits cheats using fake identities to steal millions.

We welcome your views on tonight's programme, please use this blog as a forum to discuss the issues raised.


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Honestly, the Panorama production team should be ashamed of themselves. In the age of TRILLIONS being hidden away from the taxman in tax havens, and money laundering of crooks ill-gotten gains scale in British "dependencies" like Jersey, what does Panorama focus on? People illegally parking in blue-badge bays. Hard-hitting investigative stuff. Total cost to british tax payer of benefit-cheats? 4bn. Total cost to british tax-payer of corporate tax cheats (allowed by our elected leaders)? 150bn+. Lazy Daily Mail journalism at it's worst. Grow some balls.

  • Comment number 3.

    Oh come on, if you want us all to obey the rules then we should start at the top, The bankers, energy company bosses, tax evaders, politicians and so on, then maybe we'll all be happy to 'tow the line'.

  • Comment number 4.

    Too right grrrmmm. Richard "built on" the base reactionary attitudes of white van man. He he, I made a joke.

    This documentary is like fixing a leaky sink when the kitchen has no roof.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm confused why someone claiming DLA shouldn't be able to play golf? DLA means you require support with personal care or mobility, not that you can't do anything? Also, shouldn't questions be asked about who decides who is capable to work? I say this because when I went into work (I have a disability meaning I can do certain types of work but not really everything), and advised the benefits service, they were suprised I could do a job. These are the people deciding who is and isn't too 'disabled' or sick to work - they just don't think outside the box. Really disappointed with tonights Panorama......its careful editing or bad journalism.

  • Comment number 6.

    Dear BBC

    I do hope that The BBC will give equivilent air time to those subjected to ATOS and DWP investigation where they they subjected to verbal examinations to determine their disability. Under the rediculous points system, benefits are withdrawn from rightful recipients, only to have them reinstated by the independent Tribunal some months later. By that time the regulations regarding benefits have removed the possibility of claiming benefits for 6 months.
    I appreciate that there are any number of fraudulent recipients of benefits as there are in any walk of life.
    I would be happy to offer the same undercover investigation to prove the DWP and ATOS iniquities just to offer a level of balance to you investigation.

  • Comment number 7.

    OK, pretty serious but when can we expect you to do a programme on tax evasion by the filthy rich? That costs us six times as much. Or is that just too difficult.

  • Comment number 8.

    Boots paid 3% tax last year, and you're chasing a bloke around a pub. Open your eyes. Instead, how about chasing the politicians who allow pirate nations like Switzerland to act with impunity. If rich countries clubbed together and stopped trading with tax havens & secrecy jurisdictions, there would be a bounty beyond taxpayers' wildest dreams.

  • Comment number 9.

    The BBC and its 'trash' journalism is now beyond belief, we all know the that Murdoch doesn't like you so why still try to out right wing him is amazing. The title of this program is a disgrace as it gives the impression that everyone legitimately claiming any benefits is thieving scum and should be investigated and locked up.
    You should start with yourselves and your over inflated expenses claims.

  • Comment number 10.

    I suggest that Panorama have a look at expat Brits who claim disability allowance whilst living full time in in France. It is quite amazing what can be achieved by those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • Comment number 11.

    Benefit Fraud is bad, I totally agree! But surely it is just as bad when the DWP are defrauding innocent people that live by the rules and declare everything? My partner was claiming Jobseekers for a short while after coming out of work. A few weeks later he managed to get a work trial, He then was offered a full time position after the work trial. Everything was done through the jobcentre, all the correct forms were filled in, and my partner stopped getting benefits as soon as he had the full time position. Now we have debt collectors demanding nearly £600 from a debt that was sold to them by DWP from overpayment of benefit. We never had any of this apparent money, but that doesn't seem to matter. It would be nice if you could do a report about the other side, about how the benefits agency are able to defraud people with no proof! They are so corrupt and all you can report about is how Disability Badges are used wrongly. I remember now why I am not an avid panarama viewer.....There is no such thing as a real reporter anymore, you are all just lazy.

  • Comment number 12.

    It is important , to catch all of the people cheating the system - but of course, the 'benefit' cheats are a valid and 'easy' target . I believe catching people who misuse the blue disabled badge is not worthy of a panorama program, when what's needed is a serious investigation/audit of the UK's debt - Where did all of the money go - which is really necesary (and not only the Uk's debt should be investigated!)

  • Comment number 13.

    Maybe Benefit fraud would be reduced or harder to commit if claims are made in face to face interviews at Job Centres again and not over the telephone. Plus a telephone claim evidence is not required or verified i.e ID or status. maybe if the government didn't close established Benefit Process Centres making trained qualified processing staff now telephone Operator in Call Centres wasting their training and experience. Plus when Fraud is established and proved the right to ever claim again should be evoked maybe people might think twice.

  • Comment number 14.

    Well done Panorama for highlighting the lengths that many lazy parasites in this country go to. Benefit fraud is stopping GENUINE claimants receiving the help that they are entitled to and deserve, especially the elderly who have paid their National Insurance Contributions and Taxes. The Welfare State was originally set up to help people who had made a contribution and get something back WHEN they needed it most. The system has been abused by individuals who think that it is their right to get something for nothing, the 'I want, it's my right' generation. You don't get anything for nothing in life so Benefit Fraudsters should stop ripping us tax payers off.

  • Comment number 15.

    I was amazed by tonights program I am a full time carer to my wife who has huntingtons I am fit as a fiddle worked since the age of 14 and if I live until 76 years it would be equal to myself working a 45hw which would balance up the hrs. and only part of the tax/nis. payed I say only part has for 10yrs the gov.took me for a singleman but I was married we have been together 32yrs as a married couple.and working 80hrs per week was normal. About 1 month ago the job centre phoned and told me they were going to stop my disable money and I asked what disablement as I am a carer on £55.00 per a week and if they wish for me to go back my job was there for me but they would need to pay for 24/7 doublehanded care for my wife as I am fit as a fiddle I told them SIX TIMES over a 2 hour phone call they kept putting me down as unable to work and I KEPT TELLING ME ho no dont worry we will sort it . I have been to my MP George Eustice conservative and his words were it is a disgrace the £55.00 that carers get it should be at less £150.00 a week so when you say that a man you claimed carers for six months owned £25.000 now did it happen the maths do not add up and blue badges if you are going shopping or on business for a disabled person then you can use the badge and the mobile car.

  • Comment number 16.

    Chasing people around because of blue badges, and people using council houses in Stoke on Trent for a mini cab stop (whatever that is???)

    This was Britain on the fiddle?
    Are you serious BBC?

    How about an investigation into the massive fraud being carried out by the huge corporations who are profiteering at our expense then siphoning off the money into off shore accounts, and using clever accounting to avoid paying billions in taxation, while we struggle to pay our everyday bills?

    Your reporter kept on about this £4 billion fraud, and just how much money did we give to bail out the fraud committed by the banks?
    Where are the prosecutions from that?
    Where are the arrests?
    Where is all that money?
    Why is all the focus on people on benefits, when the real fraud that is breaking this country isn't being committed at the bottom by the poorest in society, but at the top by the richest.

  • Comment number 17.

    I found the programme quite offensive. Just because someone is claiming disability benefit, disability living allowance, ESA etc does not mean they are bed ridden! Many people with debilitating conditions are told by medical experts to take regular exercise to aid their pain! For older people especailly golf, riding a bike, swimming etc are excellent forms of exercise. Shame on you panorama for taking the 'easy' way of showing benefit cheats. How about the millions of pound wasted every year on the real benefit cheats who are working and claiming ... the one's who go to sign on in their plasterers overalls, or covered in paint splatters that aren't even challenged at the job centre?

  • Comment number 18.

    I can hardly believe what I saw tonight. A much respected and valued programme stooping to the level of the gutter press. Cheap and lazy journalism pandering to the right wing agenda of persecuting benefit cheats whilst ignoring the super rich and big business who cheat the taxpayer out of far more money.
    None of the individuals featured tonight have even been convicted of a crime. I'm not condoning what they have allegedly done but I am condemning the producers and folk in charge at panorama. Hang your heads in shame. I look forward to some balance with a programme on millionaires who do not pay tax or the inland revenue letting multinationals off their taxes

  • Comment number 19.

    I can only advise that you be careful with what you say, how you say it and, possibly more importantly, who you judge.

    I agree that benefit fraud needs to be addressed and eradicated. It is quite simply dishonest and those who cheat the system lack respect.

    However, you don't put a child diagnosed with Perthes disease in a bed with brackets on for two years. That causes muscle wastage and you will find that after two years they are no longer able to walk.

    If you have a bad back, arthritis, or any other form of physical disability the idea is to continue to exercise daily and not sit on a chair all day every day simply because you're claiming benefits and therefore aren't able to work.

    Neither do you turn round to someone like myself and inform me that, just because I look 'normal' and have no physical impairment, I am therefore able to work. I am on Incapacity Benefit and have been for many years. Just because I'm able to type this message using, I hope, grammatically correct English, does not mean I'm able to work in open employment, either full or part time.

    I sustained a severe head injury. You can't see it but it's there. I tried to get back into employment many times and was advised by my eldest brother not to mention the head injury but that is also dishonest. Every time I managed to persuade someone to employ me, to give me a chance, I would soon be 'slapped in the face' and taken back seemingly to stage one of my recover, needing to regain my confidence. Do not judge those on Incapacity Benefit without being sure you know why they claim this benefit.

    Yes, benefit fraud needs to be sorted out. I suppose you'd say I cheat the benefit system. Afterall, I look after my son, I take him to school, I help him with his schoolwork, I pick him up, I do the shopping and, most of the time, the cooking. I suppose you'd say that because I do all those things I'm able to work. I cycled from Edinburgh to London 18 months after paralysis caused by the head injury. Watch BBC Songs of Praise MAYC London Weekend in May/June 1995. I suppose therefore I'm able to work. Being in a work environment is a completely different situation.

    I am sure there are people who will not willingly inform others they have sustained a head injury. There are still too many, employers included, who prejudge and they are so often wrong in their assumptions.

    Be careful who you judge. You may, and already have I believe, offended some with this evenings Panorama programme. Yes, uncover the fraud. But don't judge those who just happen to play golf or tennis, go cycling, running or swimming and who are also claiming Incapacity Benefit. We all need things to fall back on and do during the day, whether able to work in full or part time employment or not.


  • Comment number 20.

    What about a "Rich Britain on the Fiddle"?
    Didn't think so.

  • Comment number 21.

    As has been said far more cash "lost" via tax evasions and waste.
    Plus the amounts re benefits always include "errors" and much of that is down to DWP staff.
    I know i was going to be charged with fraud to the tune of 5k.
    However we had proof that we did supply the correct info but it was inputted wrongly by a staff member.
    But it was very much a case of guilty,prove your not.
    My question of what would happens to the staff memeber who caused all the hassle and problems was glossed over.
    I would suggest a prog looking at DWP waste and errors,it would be a long one.

  • Comment number 22.

    Panorama and the other so called "investigative" programs would never expose big business, the fraud, the greed, the corporate corruption that robs us at the tills everyday, because they know they would be tied up in legal loopholes by the endless pit the fat cats can draw on, and the expense of millions to air a program like that would end up making it too costly.
    Easier to go after a few blue badge holders and some guy with a BOAT that if you hadn't seen the pictures and had gone on the description that Richard Bilton was using, you'd think was something that would make Abramovich proud.
    As for the "Bentley" well, the model in the program is found easily on autotrader for under £5000.
    The producers, should be ashamed of themselves putting out rubbish like that at the expense of the licence payer.
    If you want to expose real fraud go after it, its happening in just about everything with a PLC after its name.

  • Comment number 23.

    What a complete waste of the license fee payers money, why waste decent air time on Benefit cheats when the majority of the national newspapers do this everyday? Both you and the newspapers are adding to the prejudice that is rife in this country that people who are on benefits are the lowest of the low, this is not the case at all. If this type of prejudice was aimed at a minority ethnic group then it would not be allowed to be printed or aired.
    The cheats you covered all deserve to be jailed and never allowed to claim any sort of benefit, but on listening very carefully to your program benefit fraud added up to an estimated sum of £4 billion so who is defrauding the remaining £18 billion of the £22 billion that you quoted it costs the government? maybe a program investigating that would be an idea.
    What you really need to be taking a very close look at is the dealings of the government in regards to using ATOS, a company that has been banned from trading in some states in the USA for inappropriate practice.. This company is paid extortionate sums of the tax payers money to carry out Medical assessments on behalf of the DWP, held in centres where quite often there is no disabled parking, one centre, Croydon is actually up 42 stairs and through health and safety rules people in wheelchairs cannot use the lift just in case of emergency, so claimants have to make a 14 mile round trip to another centre.
    In my personal experience the assessments and the following report is a complete joke and work of fiction. The assessor who is very rarely specialized in the field that they are assessing spends more time looking at a computer screen than listening and actually hearing what the claimant is saying. They ask questions like "Do you have a dog?" if you answer yes then you are fit for work because you care for a dog?????????????? "Do you watch television?" again a positive answer will deem you fit for work as you can sit in one place for more than 30 mins???????????
    They misreport medication, they fail to included any extra information you give them to support your claim. The physical examination, if that is what you want to call it, is a total waste of time, you will be deemed fit for work if you manage to get on and off the couch without their aid. A lot of claimants feel a need to try and remain as independent as they can as a matter of pride and dignity and will work through pain as much as they can.
    Then they pass the report to the DWP who will stop your benefit without warning if you have not gained the 15 points needed all £67.50 of it. You have to appeal which in it's self is more stress added to already vulnerable people. If you get a decision maker that actually takes time to read the report and the evidence you have sent in to prove your appeal you are lucky this then goes to an independent tribunal which in some cases has taken years. About 40% of tribunals are successful and the ESA has to pay the extra benefit backdated to the 14th week of the claim. Surely the wasted resources spent on this stupid system would be far better put into dealing with the fraudsters and not into disabling the sick and disabled more than they already are. It is widely reported on the web that ATOS actually are encouraged by the government to fail claimants whatever their state of health, which they do without any conscience at all, even failing someone who has an inoperable brain tumor.
    I am sure that if you put out a request for volunteers who are having to go through this sadistic undignified system to take a hidden camera into the assessment and follow the whole claim through to the bitter end you would be inundated with offers.
    Also please bear in mind that there are people at the highest post in government who have themselves claimed DLA for relatives, these people have had plenty of financial resources to pay for the best care and support out of their own pockets. Is this not hypocrisy in it's highest form?
    All I can say is that everyone who is prejudiced against benefit claimants need to think "There but for the grace of God go I" because it can happen to anyone without a word of warning, however financially well off you are. I personally would not wish that on my worst enemy.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    The BBC once again cements it's position as the media arm of Cameron's government.

    This is shameful. Having watched this (at a friend's house), I am confident that my decision not to renew my television license was the correct one.

    I am tempted to avoid ALL journalists now, but I realise that OVER-GENERALISATION helps no-one. See what I did there?

    Absolutely disgraceful.

    Where is the Vodafone documentary, and the BBC's collective cojones?

  • Comment number 26.

    And Brits still think that a properly organised system of ID cards is too expensive and an infringement of liberties? Oh, come on! Just continue with the absurd system of believing that utility bills can prove where you live and the frauds will continue and even become a growth industry.

    Graham Reid (a Brit living abroad)

  • Comment number 27.

    You should be ashamed of yourselves BBC staff. How could you allow this microcosm of fiddlers to be shown as typical of claimants?
    You are the voice of the establishment - an establishment that wants only the wealthy to have a decent lifestyle, education and a fair crack of the whip.
    Why don't you do an in-depth programme about the thieves who are still unpunished for stealing our money? And I'm including the MP's as well as the banks. Come to think of it - why not do a programme which actually names those thieves - the ones that dropped the world into a debt-ridden hell?

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm already into double figures with attacks from complete strangers who simply see me out on the street, walking while disabled, and 'know' that means that I am a benefit fraud, because the hate-ridden media have told them that all disabled people are frauds and scroungers. And my experience is typical rather than exceptional. How many disabled people are going to be attacked over the next weeks and months because of the hatred encouraged by this lazy piece of bigotry? Panorama had a proud legacy, unfortunately the emphasis is now on the 'had'.

    I also have the audacity to sail, white-water raft and fly gliders, all while disabled. None are incompatible with being severely disabled, none come without an invisible cost (costs that have lasted up to a year at times), none are incompatible with the receipt of any disability benefit. Disabled people already live in an atmosphere of suspicion, jealousy and hatred because of the failure of society to understand that disability does not mean being a wheelchair user dependent 24/7 on the charity of those around us. The BBC is legally mandated by its Public Sector Equality Duty to take measures to improve the understanding and acceptance of disabled people in society, this programme spat on that responsibility, just as its consequences will likely see disabled people being spat on in the street.

    I need to go out today, but I can't hide the fact that I'm disabled, and after this programme I find that I'm scared of the consequences.

    Isn't that a proud legacy for Panorama.

  • Comment number 29.

    I fully agree with the previous contributors to this discussion that more light should be shone on and investigation of tax evasion, fraud, waste,the behaviour of banks/bankers and dodgy business practices where billions and billions of tax payers money could be saved/claimed.
    Targeting benefit fraud as depicted in this programme is lazy journalism and plays into this Governments hands as they are desperate to label the sick, disabled and unemployed as feckless, lazy, scroungers or fraudsters. Programmes like this do the job for them!
    I do however wonder how someone can claim incapacity benefit for years if they are not entitled to it (as there are clearly those who do play the system). My husband was made redundant having worked and paid taxes etc for 40 years he claimed contribution based JSA for 6 months and then this was stopped because of my salary. He was however still able to claim his NI contribution (stamp) towards his pension whilst seeking work. During this time he had hernia surgery, within 4 weeks of this surgery he was invited to see a DWP doctor to assess his ability to work.... bear in mind here he wasn't claiming any benefits at all! Once we had discovered that he didn't need any more NI contributions for his pension we were happy to tell the DWP where to place their stamp! So I find it very puzzling that there are people who can fraudulently claim sickness benefit for years.
    Also as we are all identified by our NI numbers why is there not a system that flags up people who are working and paying NI contributions and claiming benefits as well - or is there?? If there is it isn't working!

  • Comment number 30.

    Dear BBC, this sensationalist documentary just proves how much of a corrupt organisation you are. You are indeed, as corrupt as the benefit cheats you report about as you are biased in your reporting of the problem. How about reporting on our lying and cheating politicians? or perhaps a program about our corrupt bankers and corporates who cheat billions from us each year?

  • Comment number 31.

    This program must represent a low ebb in the history of BBC journalism.

    All it did was confirm what we already know. Take any identifiable group of people from the population at large and there will be criminals among them. Well done the brave investigative journalists!

    The almost universal consensus among the comments clearly indicates that the BBC have with this program not only attempted yet again to demonise and denigrate benefit claimants but have seriously insulted the intelligence on their audience.

    A slight on the once proud traditions of the BBC and shame on those bullied into denying their own conscience to make it.

    Surely we deserve some explanation for this recent trend to transparent propaganda which is so obviously politically motivated.

  • Comment number 32.

    Amazed by the attitude in the comments, the funniest being that the BEEB is pro Cameron.
    The general consensus is look the rich are crooks so why not us.
    Fantastic this will get us far.
    Personally as someone gratefully in receipt of welfare I'm disgusted by the scum who cheat and steal from tax payers rich or poor, although i was once a tax payer rather than a member of Browns client state from my birth on the estate. Stick Jeremy Kyle on folks and keep on stealing.
    Welfare reform ? I have nothing to hide and if they catch most of you lot out who knows i may get more.

  • Comment number 33.

    Benefit "fraud" comes in many disguises, some of them legal. The Beeb picking on people who claim disability allowance/incapacity benefit is a bit of a cheap shot. Okay, so they managed to find a genuine fiddler, the pub landlord, plus a guy who continued to claim though he lived on a boat (oops, no, that was out of the water), had a house in the South of France (or did he? Could belong to the estranged wife? Wasn't exactly "got to the bottom of", was it?). Did we actually spot him living in France?

    Just on that guy, since when was the Beeb qualified to determine if he was disabled/ there must be heaps of people out there who legally claim disability but who can walk more than 20 metres or ride a bike. What about the ones who are too mentally ill to work? "Oh look, he can ride a bike! He couldn't possibly be disabled!"?? Rubbish, just rubbish.

    How about people who are capable of paying their rent but go into arrears so they can be classed as homeless and go to the top of the queue for council housing? Or those who work, both employed and self employed, who deliberately restrict their hours and/or incomes to the bare minimum so that they can hold onto all their benefits, including, lo and behold, their rent getting paid by other taxpapers? Or the single parents who "can't do more than 16 hours a week" because otherwise it will interfere with their income support set up?

    This programme was like watching a bully boy pick on the 10% weakest on the benefit ladder, while those well versed in playing the system, the other "legal" 90%, sailed off into the sunset without a care in the world.

  • Comment number 34.

    Listen, alot of people are banging on about poloticians, bankers, the wealthy etc. This program wasnt about those people - it was about fraudsters.

    I admit the blue-badge abusers were not really worth spending so much time on, but it did highlight an abuse of another non-financial type.

    Also, claiming that 1 in 30 people are ever investigated, or that most are unlikely to ever get convicted didnt help the case.

    I personally know lots of people on the fiddle. In fact I even reported it - twice, over a year ago - and nothing has happened. So much for the 'We are gaining on you' ads on TV and the 'we will catch you'. If anything, it probably enforced some potential fraudsters to comit fraud, seeing as the stats are so good for them

    In London, it is common practice to get a council flat, and then sublet it - whilst claiming money. Its also very common for people to get off the boat, and know EXACTLY what to say, what forms to ask for etc - to jump the queues.

    The government is soft, and looks like this one is the same way. Until a STRONG message is sent - this will go on.

    Why not pay the average joe £2000, for each successful person they report, who is then successfully convicted. For that, you could get the public to send footage of people on disability where they clearly are not disabled.

    Trouble is - that the fraudsters know their rights, and as it happens, you can appeal the decision. The Councils are soft too. At least Make these people pay back all their gains, the put them in jail.

    There is hardly any checking going on at the right places.

    People are flying into UK, and when they get to the customs, they have lost their passport. How the hell does that work? Check their passports before they de-plane, and tag them. That way you know where to deport them to

  • Comment number 35.

    I watched the programme and have read comments made so far. What a sad sad country we now live in. Yes, we have politicians, bankers, and fat cats who continue to prosper. Yes, yes, yes I agree that Panorama and other programme makers should have the bottle to tackle the above head on. I agree that there are "bigger purses" out there to go after. Because there are bigger fish to fry it does not make it morally correct, or, less of a crime to be a benefit cheat. They are not only cheating us but they are cheating the people who actually need our support, understanding and help. I sympathise with genuine members of our Society who have disabilities becaue they are, by default being tarnished. This is not the fault of the Panorama team - it is the fault of the cheats so your frustration should be aimed at them. As someone who has been able to work and pay my own way for over forty years (despite battling a life threatening illness which resulted in many operations and treatment which have left their scars and physical limits) I totally understand that life could have been so so different. I sympathise even more with people who have no option but to receive help. I have, however, absolutely no sympathy with cheats and scroungers. I know a number of genuine disabled people who, if the cheats and scroungers were named and shamed would enjoy a much better lifestyle.

  • Comment number 36.

    The previous comment sums up my views completely. I am disapointed at the amount of comments from viewers who believe it is 'ok' to fiddle the system just because those 'bigger fish' can do it. It is a crime to be a benefit cheat, immoral and reduces the benefit available for those who need it. A question though - why is parking free for blue badge holders? I fully agree with the issue of the blue badge enabling those who need it to park in the most convenient place. However, many people who need the blue badge are workers or pensioners whose income is the same as others. So why is there no charge for parking?

  • Comment number 37.

    More is lost to DWP error than actual fraud by claimants. The government want to bring in universal d=credit to make it look like even more is lost to fraud than s now by grouping many benefits into one group. Their trick won't work as anyone who looks closely will see more official errors than fraud

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    DrLangleylegs, whilst I agree with your comment wholeheartedly, offering £2k to people for sending in footage of people who recieve DLA doing things like riding a bike, sports, gardening etc..... mainly activities that you would not think a disabled person would be able to do would open a massive can of worms..... what people have to bear in mind is that not all disabilities are visable..... would you know if Joe Bloggs next door who you know is in reciept of Disability benefits and you see outside everyday gradening, had severe epilepsy? or Post Traumatic stress etc..... no you wouldn't because a lot of people with disabilities like these know the trigger signs of their siezures/episodes and will go inside away from people to a safe place, but they appear to others that there is nothing wrong with them.
    Also some excercise is recommended for a lot of disabilities. So to send evidence in you would need to be in full possession of the facts otherwise a lot of genuine people would be caused even more damage.

  • Comment number 40.

    I doubt that thanks to the ongoing anti benefits campaign that there is a single person living in the UK who is not aware of the problem of fraudsters taking advantage of our benefits system. No one needed this program to tell them that.

    If they were fake, it's just another example of the continuing decline in journalism. We don't need an "investigative journalist" to tell us that there are criminals who defraud the system. That isn't news to anyone. Our society is riddled with crime and fraud at every level. Finding a few cheats from a group of millions tells us absolutely nothing of any use. Criminals and crime are everywhere and are the inevitable result of a society which promotes the individual acquisition of wealth as it's highest aim and most rewarded and valued trait.

    The Queens daughter has a criminal record. There are more than 1,000 serving police with criminal convictions. I am sure there are people with criminal records who read this forum. More than five million people in the UK have convictions for crimes that could have involved imprisonment. One in three men under 30 years of age have criminal records. It is estimated that at least 20% of the working population has a criminal record.

    So what exactly is the point of continually pulling out and highlighting anecdotal examples of criminality among benefit claimants. Who would want to do it and also be in a position to manage it?

    It is quite plainly an orchestrated attempt to firmly associate benefit claimants with fraud in the minds of the population at large. It is a deliberate, dishonest and cruel manipulation of the truth carefully planned and executed by some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in this country. In my opinion, there is no comparison between the criminality and culpability of people who would abuse their privileged position to further disadvantage the most vulnerable, and the worst of the benefit cheats who follow their example. The crime of those driving this attack on the poor ranks among the worst that could possibly be committed and I long for the day when we can deliver justice to them.

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    I am somewhat surprised at the BBC, for not doing some research about Incapacity Benefit, it is NOT means tested, so all the comments about foreign property and yachts are irrelevant.
    I would also point out assets like houses and yachts may well predate a claimants illness or injury.
    I would also like to know where the BBC got the £4billion figure from for fraud AND error in the benefits system because it was not from the Department of Work and Pensions.
    Fraud and Error across all benefits
    The preliminary estimate of total overpayments due to fraud and error across all benefits is £3.3bn; this is 2.1% of the total benefit expenditure, which was £154bn in 2010/11.

  • Comment number 43.

    A tabloidesque treatment utilising lies,distortions and prejudicial stereotypical representations.Benefit fraud (including working tax credits and housing ) is according to the Government which is trying to exaggerate it amounts to less than 2.5 billion as can easily be checked.But actual facts were not even attempted in this programme.The shocking suggestion that benefit fraud takes from the genuine is both ludicruous and diversionary.It is the Government that is removing billions from the genuine,programmes such as this which presents what "genuine" means aids them in their intentions.

  • Comment number 44.

    I am at a loss as to how people can successfully claim DLA when not entitled. I have worked, in pain, for 34 years. I suffer from Lupus, Chiari Malformation 1, Syringomyalia and Fibromyalgia. I had to give up work after an operation to remove a piece of my skull last year I have difficulty in walking, dressing etc and I have been refused DLA so how is it possible to be able to cycle or play golf and be entitled to it.

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm finding it somewhat challenging to express precisely how offensive and insulting I found this programme to be. The DWP's own statistics demonstrate that only a tiny fraction of claims for IB/ESA and DLA are fraudulent, yet "Britain on the Fiddle" ignored this fact, preferring instead to trot out the easy tabloid myth that the disability benefits system is rife with deception and criminality. Stating at the end of the programme that the overwhelming majority of claimants are genuine was too little, too late. Like other posters to this board, I too would like to know how the £4bn figure was arrived at.

    Perhaps the most shameful aspect of the programme was the implication that only those with severe mobility problems can be regarded as disabled. Conditions such as serious mental health problems or acquired brain injuries may not preclude someone from engaging in sport, yet they are most certainly genuine disabilities. While I would assume that the golfers and the young man playing football were indeed convicted of fraud - otherwise that footage could not have been shown - but the impression will have been created in the popular mind that the chronically sick or disabled have no business engaging in leisure pursuits. Any who do simply cannot be either sick or disabled.

    I'm truly dismayed that an allegedly responsible broadcaster can trot out such lazy, poorly researched tabloid rubbish, using dubious statistics and a distorted representation of some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in society and get away with calling it a current affairs documentary.

  • Comment number 46.

    Hope you are all satisfied!

    https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/c ... -29739580/

  • Comment number 47.


    Perhaps Panorama should cover more stories like this? These people are more your typical claimant, finding ways of coping because of the benefit system being so useless, watch the video of the couple attached to the story. 2 lives gone to waste, a child without her mother because no one cared enough to support them when they needed it the most. May all those politicians who vote for the welfare changes hang their heads in shame at this couples plight.

  • Comment number 48.

    The Panorama team and the so called journalist Richard Bilton, should start thinking about and try to understand how most people in this country live.
    A terrible piece of television making, pointing the finger using cliched production techniques and tired, lazy reporting.
    A huge number of people in this country live hand to mouth, they have no voice and are now looked upon as cheats or idle.

  • Comment number 49.

    What a pity Mark and Helen Mullins didn't have a Panorama camera team following them round!

  • Comment number 50.

    Any fiddling of taxes or benefits is to be deprecated.
    However some tax and benefit cheats are positively aided. Serially.
    When this is pointed out to the authorities they merely shrug their shoulders and explain that these "loopholes" exist for all to exploit.
    In other words we have become a spiv economy where serial entrepreneurs are expected to fail and fail and fail again - all the time ripping off the taxpayer.

    This in itself is not a big problem, after all the money obtained eventually gets recycled into the greater economy.

    However these spivs defeat and put out of business those honest folk trying to make an honest living.

    In other words the spivs have hijacked the meaning of the word "Entrepreneur".

    What is the point of being a real entrepreneur?

    Meanwhile watch the Frankfurt group rail at both the Mediterraneans and the City of London & their hangers on. Going to be interesting.

    Sadly I fear the government will merely shovel loads of taxpayer backed money at spivs. And, short term, claim success. Pathetic.

  • Comment number 51.

    As a hard working tax payer I find it impossible to understand how someone can have the audacity to claim benefits, feel justified in not working, and go whitewater rafting and fly gliders at the same time. I would not even find the time of day to do this never mind being able to afford such pursuits from my wages.
    I guess being willing to work puts me into the position that I have to fund the taxes that can enable others to fill their time with more pleasurable pursuits.
    From a big picture perspective, I wonder whether our society can ultimately convince enough people to make positive economic contributions to fund this, but I'll keep working hard in the meantime.


More from this blog...


These are some of the popular topics this blog covers.

Latest contributors

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.