- Miller given “warm support” from Cameron after £5,800 overclaim
- As minister for disabled people Miller was silent on ‘scroungers’ rhetoric from colleagues
- Abuse is more than 100 times value of benefit fraud per claimant
UPDATE: Given the independent parliamentary commissioner for standards originally recommended she repay £45,000 (this was overruled by a committee of MPs) her abuse is arguably 800 times the average benefit fraud per claimant.
A cabinet minister has received the “warm support”of David Cameron after overclaiming nearly £5,800 on her expenses. Culture secretary Maria Miller made the most transparently insincere 30-second apology to MPs after abusing her mortgage expenses.
David Cameron has given Maria Miller his very strong and very warm support, says spokesman. Really.
— JamesLyons (@SW1James) April 3, 2014
Scrapbook has previously highlighted the hypocritical gulf between the ‘scroungers’ hate language encouraged by the government against benefits claimants and expenses overclaims by MPs themselves. While the vast majority of claimants are law abiding, the £1.2bn cost of fraud averages out at £55 across 22 million claimants. Contrast this with the £1.2m paid back from the Commons — an average of £1,858 per MP.
Miller’s case is compounded by her previous role as DWP minister for disabled people, where she ignored calls to address “outrageous and outlandish comments” from her senior colleagues — despite strong evidence that rhetoric on fraud and scroungers was leading to hate crime against disabled people.
The report (PDF) from the Standards Commissioner absolutely damning:
“The documentation that is available of Mrs Miller’s interactions with the House tends to show a pattern in which officials would press her for information and the information that was provided appears to have been the minimum necessary. This pattern was repeated in both the Commissioner’s inquiry, and our own investigation.”
“The system relies on Members responding to the Commissioner’s inquiries fully and frankly, rather than trying to argue a case in a legalistic way. It should not have required our intervention to produce the material and explanations required to complete the investigation.”
What would happen to a benefit claimant who ‘overclaimed’ nearly £6,000 and then tried to block an investigation by DWP officials?