The fraud claim that will keep on giving

This week it was reported that the UK government have written off £4.3 billion in losses to fraudsters who successfully made fake claims to covid emergency loan schemes.

Labour have jumped on the admission and are using it in advertising.

Labour have been making hay recently through attacks on the government’s competence and the character of the Prime Minister.

To build on this momentum and open up a new front, Labour have been focusing on the cost of living crisis. The aim of this is to chip away at people’s perceptions of the Conservative Party’s ability to manage the economy effectively.

Whilst that is a worthwhile endeavour, Labour are right to jump on the fraud admission.

The claim ‘£4.3 billion lost to fraudsters’ is very similar in nature to one used frequently by the Conservative Party in the buildup to the 2010 general election which accused Gordon Brown of losing £6 billion by selling off Britain’s gold reserves when the market was at a 20 year low.

They’re both such good attacks because they are (a) easy to evidence as being true and (b) speak to economic incompetence in a way most people will understand.

The cost of living attack has potential as an issue because it is something people may feel in their day to day lives.

But it’s also relatively easy for the government to take some sort of action to show they’re attempting to tackle the issue and that would blunt the sharpness of the critique.

And people may be quicker to blame themselves rather than the government for their struggle to make ends meet.

There is nothing the government can do to “fix” the massive amount of money lost to fraud and you won’t find many voters blaming it on themselves.

The next step for Labour is to make the error famous through some memorable advertising.

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