ONE in four unemployed people in Spain is committing benefit fraud. This is based on data from last year’s fraud investigations, according to Minister for Work and Immigration, Valeriano Gomez.
Gomez revealed that 5 per cent of the 235,000 people investigated lost all their benefits. This normally only happens if it is found the person is working ‘off the books’ while collecting benefits. Twenty-five per cent of people on unemployment benefits who were investigated has commited some form of ‘irregularity’, such as getting their unemployment slip stamped late or failing to accept available jobs or courses.
They are cautioned, but do not lose their benefits. Gomez said that more than two million people have lost their jobs in Spain during the recession. Eighty per cent of these were entitled to unemployment benefits.
Meanwhile, Spain’s jobless rate remains at 21 per cent, a 14-year high and the highest in the Euro Zone, dubling the EU average. Last month jobless claims dropped by 67,858 from the previous month, but “”June is normally a good month,” said Gomez.
“After May, we normally see an upturn in the services sector. We see job creation in every activity related to tourism,” he said. Among the country’s under 25s, unemployment rates continue to exceed 40 per cent.
By Jennifer Leighfield.