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UK Gov deploys lie detectors on benefits claims

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Benefits claimants will now have to face a software lie detector test under a new regime to be outlined today by Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton.

Hutton says the system is designed to speed up the claims process for "the honest majority", and weed out the cheats.

The software will analyse a caller's voice for signs of stress, or any other tiny changes that might indicate he or she is lying. The system establishes a baseline early on in the call, and looks for changes measured against it.

Anyone flagged by the software will then have to provide more evidence to support their claim for benefit.

The system is to be piloted by Harrow Council on applicants for housing benefits and council tax relief from May this year.

The plans sound very similar to those outlined in 2005 by then Work and Pensions Secretary David Blunkett.

The BBC reports that benefit fraud cost around £700m in the 2005/06 financial year. ®

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