British benefit thieves

Dear Editor,

I believe it is necessary to clamp down on people claiming benefits which they are not entitled to, but I followed your link and read the form which the person supplying information is supposed to complete.  It is indeed ridiculous.  The information required would only be available to a close relative or an official, who already has other means at his disposal to report irregularities.

I believe it is just part of a campaign to show that Big Brother is watching and make people think twice.  The fact that it has become a news item in your paper proves that it has had some effect.  The Benefit Agency has other means of obtaining information – passenger information at airports (the chip in your passport clocks up every flight you make here), sight of money transfers, cooperation with the Portuguese Authorities.  

If analysed properly, the information generated by use of your fiscal number provides a map of where you are, whenever you are in Portugal.  It would therefore not be difficult to know who is resident here, whether that is official or not. I would think the Portuguese Officials would be glad to assist if it meant they could start collecting tax from people, who at present are overlooked.


by email

Dear Editor,

I was interested to read your article about the new hotline to enable the British government to track down benefit fraudsters.

We British retirees know that we lose many benefits, such as pension credit, when we choose to retire to Portugal. Also, disabled people may find that their Disability Living Allowance is cut off in defiance of an EU ruling that the UK is the competent authority.

No, I am not defending benefit fraud. Lord Freud, the Minister for Welfare Reform, says that the government wishes to extend its reach further across Europe. What a pity that it cannot offer a local helpline number so that expatriates can obtain those benefits to which we are legally entitled or even, perhaps, restore some of those benefits for which we have been paying all our lives.