Today we see a headline story on long overdue plans to use the services of the credit reference agencies to reduce benefit fraud. What is still missing is a plan to routinely use their services to improve service. When you go into a major store and ask for credit it takes minutes for them to agree, having checked that you are unlikely to be a fraudster. The same should apply with regard to applications for benefit. Only if you if you are unknown or flagged as a risk should you have to pass through all the hoops and delays. Why has this not happened? Fear that a more efficient system would result in higher claims? Or fear that it would expose the true scale and nature of benefit fraud?
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Either way the time has come to ensure that benefits go to those who need them most.
At the same time we should migrate the nation’s databases to those who can be trusted to look after our personal data. Who do you trust less? HMC, DWP, DVLA, Google, Amazon, your ISP, the NHS, the Credit Reference Agencies, your Bank, your own Doctor?
Consumer research in the United States indicates that Americans trust the credit reference agencies more than local (State/County) government. And they trust the Federal Government nearly as little as they trust on-lines retailers, ISPs or technology companies.
Who will dare fund a You-Gov polls to see who we trust?
P.S. I personally do not trust You-Gov sufficiently to answer some of their more detailed surveys on financial matters, let alone their request to put polling software on my system.