Now this scheme seems to be a brilliant idea. Should it be stopped? I think not, the question of why should it cost so much to implement needs to be asked. After all, those on benefits are on a computerised system, surely a little bit of data input to vary the payments should not cost a fortune. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/4864659/Benefits-pilot-scheme-scrapped-for-costing-too-much.html Benefits pilot scheme scrapped for costing too much Embarrassed ministers have been forced to scrap a pilot scheme that suspended benefits for offenders who breached community orders because it costs more than Â£150 for every Â£1 it saves. By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor Last Updated: 7:46PM GMT 27 Feb 2009 The scheme, run in four areas since 2001, was designed to get tough on those ignoring community service but only saw a 1.8 per cent improvement in compliance rates. At the same time, it costs more than Â£650,000 a year to organise and saves less than Â£4,000, in average, in benefit handouts. The Ministry of Justice could not even say, last night, how many offenders had had their benefits suspended during the pilots. Justice Secretary Jack Straw has now abandoned the scheme after admitting it "did not provide sufficient value for money". Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "It defies belief that anyone could run a system that spends over Â£150 to save Â£1. It seems that you could give some public servants a brewery and they'd struggle to organize a booze-up." The scheme began in 2001 in Derbyshire, Hertfordshire, Teesside and West Midlands. It applied to those serving community orders who were also in receipt of jobseeker's allowance, income support or certain training allowances. If they breached the conditions of their community sentence they would see jobseeker's allowance and aspects of their training allowances withdrawn for four weeks while income support was reduced by 40 per cent, or by 20 per cent where the offender or a member of their family is seriously ill or pregnant. But a written ministerial statement slipped out to parliament late yesterday afternoon said the pilot schemes would not continue. It found there had only been a 1.8 per cent improvement in offenders complying with their conditions as a result of the policy.# The MoJ were unable to supply accurate figures on how much money was saved but said had there been a five per cent improvement rate it would save Â£9,500 a year, suggesting less than Â£4,000 was actually saved. In contrast, it said the cost of running the scheme would be Â£652,000.