It is estimated that Housing Benefit fraud costs the country £320 million every year, which is money that could be spent on new hospitals, improving schools or building new houses.
However, housing benefit cheats in South Lanarkshire should take note: their days are numbered.
For the council has reaffirmed its commitment to ensure that they are penalised for their crimes.
During 2013/14, the council issued financial penalties to 21 fraudsters and passed 69 cases to the Procurator Fiscal for criminal proceedings.
Following 33 successful court prosecutions, many substantial fines were imposed and, indeed, one conviction resulted in a six-month prison sentence.
However, to be as fully effective as possible in preventing housing benefit fraud, the council needs the help of the public.
Reporting a suspected fraud can be done anonymously by calling the council’s Housing Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0303 123 1013 or by submitting an online fraud referral at www.southlanarkshire.gov.uk.
For more on this story, pick up a copy of this week’s Carluke and Lanark Gazette.