LABOUR has been accused of supporting a “cheat’s charter” over the council’s level of investment in fraud detection.
Tory councillor Rob Gledhill said a third of fraud referrals from 2010 to 2011, and half this year, have not been investigated by Labour-run Thurrock Council.
The councillor praised the work of the council’s small fraud team, but said he was disappointed a Tory idea to put £100,000 towards expanding the team, so more fraudsters can be caught, was rejected.
Speaking at the last full council meeting, Labour cabinet member for central services, Phil Smith, said it was wrong to suggest frauds were not being investigated.
He said: “All the referrals are investigated, but for some of them it becomes clear there’s nothing to investigate, sometimes people who’ve written letters or made phone calls have got it wrong.
“To say there’s a third which haven’t been investigated is totally incorrect, they’ve all been investigated.”
Speaking about the proposal to expand the fraud detection team, he added: “The Government has cut the amount of money that we have had to spend each year.
“I will not commit additional resources unless the Goverment gives us money.”
Cllr Gledhill blasted back: “This would have helped increase the capacity and skills base in a corporate fraud team to help protect the public purse.
“For Labour to say they are not going to invest in preventing this is nothing short of supporting a cheats’ charter.”