Benefit cheats will be subject to credit checks to see if they have any high-value assets, in a bid to clamp down on fraud, ministers have said.{jcomments on}

The Department for Work and Pensions says the aim is also to recoup more of the £1.2bn the government loses to benefit fraud every year.

A No 10 spokesman said getting the welfare budget under control is "key".

Credit references can already be checked by officials but are not often used and are dependent on tip-offs.

Prime Minister David Cameron believes calling in bailiffs to confiscate and sell expensive items, such as cars and computers, from cheats will be a strong deterrent to fraudsters.

Low-value possessions and essential items are unlikely to be taken.

"Getting the welfare budget under control is a key part of our long-term plan for the economy," said the spokesman.

"We want to end the something-for-nothing culture and deliver for people who want to work hard and play by the rules."

The government launched a scheme this year to encourage benefit claimants to disclose changes in their circumstances to help prevent overpayment, which costs £1.6bn a year.

Read the story on the BBC website


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