London workers are faking expenses claims says report

07:48 30 May 2012

MPs took a pounding during the expenses scandal but it seems ‘ordinary’ workers are dishonest too, according to research.

A survey of workers has found 53 per cent admit to exaggerating expense claims by including personal items on it.

Women put an average £2,000 worth of personal items through expenses last year, significantly more than men at £1,531.

Workers in London were second only to colleagues in the West Midlands in claiming the most at £2,140 per person on average.

The most frequently exaggerated expense claims are for company car mileage, restaurant meals and food on the go.

When asked why they exaggerate expense claims, a third of respondents claimed everyone does it, 25 per cent said it’s easy to get away with, and almost 20 per cent believed the company owes it to them for their hard work.

In addition, 40 per cent did not believe an exaggerated expense claim amounted to theft, irrespective of its value.

Jon Hancock, managing director, commercial at RSA, the insurer which quizzed 1,000 workers with access to an expense account, said: “This research demonstrates the frightening ease with which employees are able to sneak personal items through the business expense claims process.

“They might believe that a small amount here and there won’t make a difference, but it adds up and over time can have a major impact on businesses and, by extension, on the wider economy.

“Employers must make sure they have robust processes in place to safeguard against fraudulent expense claims - the importance of which should not be underestimated.”

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