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Tax checks amid benefits crackdown

The Government is planning to use jobseekers' tax records to see if they are fraudulently working while claiming benefits.

Benefit teams could be able to see almost immediately if a claimant is lying about work in a move to stop fraudulent claims.

Ministers are exploring how benefits and the new PAYE tax systems are used together instead of relying on outdated data or information from claimants.

Millions of pounds could be saved in reduced fraud, error and administration costs, said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, said: "This would save taxpayers money by reducing fraud and error, and it's a more efficient way of administering DWP benefits for the claimant, employers, providers and the government.

"Our experience from the early roll-out of Universal Credit has shown the advantages of using real-time information (RTI) to support the payment of benefits.

"That's why we want to look at extending its use more widely across the benefits system."

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: "RTI is the biggest-ever reform to the PAYE system, bringing it into the 21st century and giving HMRC access to more accurate information about people's income.

"I am pleased that RTI is not only improving the way HMRC runs the tax system, it is also performing a vital role by reducing fraud and error in the Universal Credit system.

"We must now look at how we can build on this success in other areas of the benefits system."

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