HMRC will reduce losses through error and fraud in the tax credit system “towards” 5.5% of finalised tax credit entitlement by 2014-15, down from 7.3% in 2011-12, he said.
Osborne (pictured above) also pledged to: increase the use of private sector debt collection services to allow the Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC to recover more benefit and tax credit debts; stop tax credit payments when someone has already received their full entitlements; share more data between agencies to spot benefit claimants; and expand HMRC’s capacity to collect additional tax debt that has gone repeatedly unpaid.
The government also restated its commitment to setting up a Single Fraud Investigation Service, working across DWP, HMRC and councils to tackle fraud. A DWP spokesperson said: “We are currently working with councils to move towards a single fraud service that will enable us to better fight fraud and bring benefit cheats to justice. We are reviewing protocols as part of this close collaboration with local government.”
Meanwhile, the home secretary has said that the National Fraud Agency will be closed. The National Crime Agency will take on its work.