todealornot

1984

In Media Dailies on November 9, 2010 at 12:45 am

We’re going after all your bank details:

Ministers demand earnings figures in crackdown on welfare fraud

By Daily Mail Reporter

Ministers are seeking access to the bank details of virtually everyone in the country to crack down on the £5billion lost to fraud and error in the welfare system each year.

The Government is to change the law to require the banks and private companies to hand over details of earnings by millions on out-of-work benefits and tax credits.

The scheme will eventually be extended to cover all people in work, allowing HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to reduce the massive errors seen in the tax system in recent years.

Access all areas: The scheme will eventually be extended to cover all people in work, allowing HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to reduce the massive errors seen in the tax system in recent years
Access all areas: The scheme will eventually be extended to cover all people in work, allowing HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to reduce the massive errors seen in the tax system in recent years

The move is likely to raise concerns about both privacy and data security, but
Whitehall sources insisted last night that all the information involved is already supposed to be passed to the Government.

One said: ‘About 94 per cent of employees and 97 per cent of benefit recipients get their earnings or benefits through the banking system – it contains all the data we need.

‘This does not involve us receiving new information, but it does involve us getting it in a more timely manner and in a way that is easier to use in reducing fraud and error.

‘It will catch out people who are not reporting a change in their circumstances, and make it easier to identify people who are saying different things to HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to maximise their tax credits and benefits.’

The scheme, due to be phased in during the next three years, will involve a ‘massive data-matching exercise’ to cross-check payments made to benefit recipients against their declared earnings.

HMRC already receives details on earnings from companies on an annual basis through the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) system.

Meanwhile, the DWP holds information on payments made and declared earnings of all benefit recipients.

But there is currently no system to link the two. Under the new proposals, the banks will be ordered to allow officials access to details of payments made through the banking system.

Employers will also be required to hand over payroll details each month, rather than on an annual basis.

Much of the error in the benefits system relates to the time lag in officials receiving information about changes in a person’s circumstances, such as a new job, extra overtime or a new partner.

In many cases overpayments of tax credits and benefits continue to rack up for months, resulting in huge sums which can never be recovered.

At least six million people have recently been told they have paid the wrong amount of tax because of errors in the existing system, and the final figure could be as high as 15million.

A Government source said: ‘Having information on a monthly basis will allow HMRC to keep track of what is going on with people’s earnings and allow it to adjust tax codes more quickly.’

Whitehall’s monthly audit

More transparent: Danny Alexander said plants to improve accountability in Whitehall represented a 'quiet revolution'
More transparent: Danny Alexander said plants to improve accountability in Whitehall represented a ‘quiet revolution’

Whitehall departments will be forced to publish month by month plans of their activity to improve accountability, the Prime Minister will say today.

David Cameron will unveil plans for a ‘power shift’ designed to make Government more transparent.

He will present it as an alternative to Labour’s target culture, which he argues encouraged short-term thinking and distorted priorities.

Ministers who fail to deliver agreed reforms and savings will be required to write a public letter to Mr Cameron explaining the poor performance.

Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander said the proposals represented a ‘quiet revolution’ in the way government works.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1327623/Ministers-demand-earnings-figures-crackdown-welfare-fraud.html#ixzz14k1Xbs4Y

Amanda Knox will face slander trial over claim police beat her up while quizzing her over Meredith murder

By Nick Pisa

Sullen: U.S. student Amanda Knox is escorted by police officers into court in Perugia today to discover that she faces further proceedings for slandering police officers during her murder trialSullen: U.S. student Amanda Knox is escorted by police officers into court in Perugia today to discover that she faces further proceedings for slandering police officers during her murder trial

Amanda Knox was today ordered to stand trial on slander charges for claiming she was beaten by police when questioned in 2007 about her flatmate’s murder.

The 23-year-old American maintains she was trying to defend herself and did not mean to slander anybody, her lawyers said.

Knox had claimed she was beaten by police during questioning over the murder of British student Meredith Kercher three years ago.

Police have denied misconduct and filed charges saying Knox’s comments were slanderous.

Knox made the allegations in June 2009 during her trial and they had earlier been repeated by her parents Curt Knox and Edda Mellas who are also facing a similar charge after giving a newspaper interview.

The slander charge came about as in the murder trial Knox recalled her police questioning and said: ‘One shouted, “You don’t remember?” then a policewoman behind me hit me across the back of the head. I turned towards her and she did it again.

‘They were only decent with me when I made my statement. They wanted a name, but I couldn’t give them one.’

Under Italian law slander is punishable with a fine and or a prison sentence of between two and six years.

The judge, Claudia Matteini, issued the indictment ruling after a behind-closed-doors hearing in Perugia.

During the hearing, which she attended in a blue top and trousers, she stood up and spoke to the court.

Facing the music: Knox is flanked by police officers today. She claimed she was only trying to defend herself when she made the claimsFacing the music: Knox is flanked by police officers today. She claimed she was only trying to defend herself when she made the claims

 

 

She said: ‘I didn’t mean to offend or slander anybody. I reiterate, I was only trying to defend myself. I was exercising a right.’

Her lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova had argued that the case should be thrown out but judge said there was enough evidence to send Knox to trial for slandering a total of seven officers.

Knox is serving a 26-year prison term after she was convicted of murder and sexual assault in December.

She has denied murdering 21-year-old Kercher and her appeal is due to to begin on November 24.

Different look: Amanda Knox during her murder trial back in February 2009Different look: Amanda Knox during her murder trial back in February 2009

Her father, Curt Knox, told The Early Show on the U.S. cable channel CBS today that ‘this is going to be her chance once again to have that wrongful conviction overturned’.

Lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said Knox was ‘very sad and worried’ but also ready to face the appeals trial.

Victim: English student Meredith Kercher, who was murdered by American Amanda Knox and her italian boyfriend Raffaele SollecitoVictim: English student Meredith Kercher, who was murdered by American Amanda Knox and her italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito

Knox’s ex-boyfriend and co-defendant at the murder trial, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, was also convicted and sentenced to a 25-year jail term.

A third person, Ivorian Rudy Hermann Guede, was convicted of murder in separate proceedings and sentenced to 30 years in prison, which was cut to 16 years on appeal.

All three have maintained their innocence.

The murder is set to be the subject of two films – the first starring Heroes star Hayden Pannettiere as Knox has already started filming while British actor Colin Firth is also set to make a film starring as an investigative reporter.

Earlier this month to mark the third anniversary of her death the Kercher family issued a statement in which they paid tribute to Meredith and described how they “missed her more than ever”.

In a statement released by Francesco Maresca, the Kercher family’s Italian lawyer, they said: “Meredith is missed more than ever and although three years have passed it is difficult to understand the why of what happened.

‘We can only hope that very quicjy a line will be drawn under all this and we can go forward and concentrate exclusively on Meredith’s memory.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1327792/Amanda-Knox-faces-slander-trial-claim-police-hit-questioning.html#ixzz14k4I8dOD

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