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Government told to do more about benefit fraud

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12:05 CEST+02:00

Politicians have demanded action after a new report estimated that benefit fraud in France costs taxpayers €20 billion euros a year.

The parliamentary report, seen by AFP, says that while the government has done a lot to reduce fraud, much remains to be done.

The report was headed by Dominique Tian, MP for the Bouches-du-Rhône region. He said “fraud is 44 times the amount that is currently being captured.” The report estimates that €458 million of fraud was detected in 2010 and that a total of €1.7 billion has been recovered since 2006.

The fraud covered in the report includes payments for work on the black market and misallocations of sick pay and family benefits. Tian believes that black market employment has become “almost normal in certain parts of the economy.” He estimates that around 10 to 12% of companies are not following the rules correctly and around 5% and 7% of salaries are not declared.

Proposals to detect and recover more fraud include re-establishing face-to-face meetings when initial claims are being made and introducing a biometric social security card (carte Vitale) that has a fixed expirty date. Other suggestions include more frequent visits to those claiming sick pay, both in the private and public sector.

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