David Laws and benefit fraud

A little over two years ago, Treasury Minister David Laws was discovered to have claimed more than £40,000 in parliamentary expenses and paid it to his long-term partner, against parliamentary rules. He resigned and was later ruled to be guilty of breaking six rules. Today he became a junior minister in the Department for Education.

In 2010, a man from Coventry was given six months in prison after being convicted of a £41,000 benefit fraud. A couple of months earlier, a woman in Stoke-on-Trent was jailed for 16 weeks for a similar offence, after she failed to disclose she was living with her partner. Another woman was spared jail but received a suspended sentence of 18 weeks for failing to disclose she was living with her partner “as man and wife”. A pensioner with learning difficulties was given a seven month suspended sentence and 100 hours unpaid work for claiming £40,000 in benefits while he had £90,000 in savings, much of it in cash.

Last month, a man who fraudulently claimed £40,000 in benefits to fund his mortgage was given a month to repay the money or face jail. The month before, a woman who claimed more than £40,000 in council tax and housing benefits over 14 years was given a six month suspended sentence and electronically tagged to enforce a curfew. The same month, a freelance TV presenter who helped to unmask unscrupulous businesses was jailed for 12 weeks for fraudulent benefits claims totalling £24,000.