Standing up for Suffolk: Ruffley applauds NAO report on benefits and calls for an overhaul of the system

Friday, 18 November, 2005

'I see evidence on a regular basis of a system that is inefficient and inaccessible'

David Ruffley MP has today commented that the National Audit Office's (NAO) report on the benefits system has confirmed his long standing belief that the system is overcomplicated, inefficient and in need of a complete overhaul.

In 1997 the Government promised a radical reform of welfare. However, benefit fraud and error are costing the taxpayer £3 billion a year and the system is widely regarded as alien and inaccessible to those that need to rely on it.

The NAO's report states:

'Complexity can lead to administrative errors both by staff and customers and may facilitate fraud.'

'With Child Support and Housing Benefit, the complex rules were widely seen as one of the main factors leading to a poor or inconsistent administrative performance.'

David said:

'Many of my constituents in Suffolk contact me with problems relating to Child Support, Housing and benefits at large. I see evidence on a regular basis of a system that is inefficient, inaccessible and unable to help those vulnerable people that it should serve.

'Moreover, the system that is in place in many instances causes more stress and more heartache to people in need, due to its vast and unnecessary complexity.

'I welcome this report from the NAO and will be pressing the Government to simplify the system and reverse the worrying trend of means testing that they have created.

'The people of Suffolk deserve a system that they can understand, trust and turn to for support.'

Notes to Editors

The full NAO report 'Dealing with the Complexities of the Benefits System' can be found in pdf format at: