Some British expatriates in Thailand maybe concerned about their government’s plan to target to reduce what the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph are today dubbing ‘abroad fraud’.
However by virtue of the fact that the story is in the Mail, and Telegraph and social security scroungers is one of their ‘b?te noires’ there is, I guess, no need for immediate concern.
Newspapers in Britain regular publish pictures of people on disability pensions playing football or as in the case below, a guy running a marathon.
For a start Spain, Portugal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the United States appear to be much higher up the list than Thailand for such scammers, and secondly Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud seems to be saying that ‘fraud abroad’ only accounts for ?66 million.
In the grand scheme of things that’s not a lot really. They could cover that quickly by getting a few MPs to sell their second homes.
According to the Daily Mail: ‘The most common and costly scams include people failing to tell officials they have moved abroad, as well as fraudsters who continue to claim benefits for people who have died.
‘That allows some cheats to pocket thousands of pounds in income support, pension payments and housing benefit.
‘Fraudsters have also claimed cash while working overseas, have exaggerated disabilities or have failed to report assets, including savings, property and even yachts.’
Well I know some dodgy people with yachts in Thailand, but they did not buy them on social security.
And from time to time I meet guys here on British disability pensions. One I know says he gets a sizeable amount and saves up for his Thai trips. I think he runs a BMW at home. I may have mentioned him before. He buys his Kamagra in bulk on arrival.
Its tempting to write the story just for the headline.
Another is having trouble with Her Majesty’s government in getting his third Thai child back to the U.K. because presumably the said H.M. Government does not want to foot the kid’s child support bill as well.
But if the British civil service wants to claw back ?66 million they could possibly cut back on staff, form filling, and get police to investigate the real guys with yachts.
This is just the Conservative part of the Conservative-Liberal coalition making its mark.
My sympathy is with the Brits in Thailand who have found the value of their pensions wiped through no fault of their own but by the actions of people accustomed to six figure bonuses.
I have an interest here. My time is not all that far off!
The Department of Works and Pensions has already set up a hotline in Portugal. They say the DPW will be co-operating with the Foreign Office, here represented by the British Embassy. I do not think there is a hotline in place for Bangkok or Pattaya.
It’s an amusing thought though. Grasses in Pattaya I image would end up the usual way in a nearby swamp. Will the spying be left to the Consular Department or Serious Organised Crime Agency? Not the latter, I think, and it I am sure is beyond the remit of our consuluar staff.
Meanwhile of course, as a poster here mentioned, the Daily Mail also highlighted in an earlier article on waste in the civil service that the Bangkok British Embassy has a ‘Climate Change Officer’ who is paid some 64,000 Thai baht a month. (Locally employed I assume)
For that we could send a couple of ‘feckless’ British expats home every month to claim benefits there.
Read more: Daily Mail