Fraud and error now 2% of welfare

At least 2% of the government’s benefits expenditure has been taken up by fraud and error since 2005, according to new figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

By CivilServiceWorld

22 Jan 2014

The report, published last week, found that £3.5bn was overspent in 2012-13: 2.1% of overall welfare expenditure.

The figures for 2012-13 show that the individual benefit overpaid by the largest percentage was pension credit at 5.5%, equivalent to £420m. The second highest percentage overpayment was 5.3% on housing benefit, or £1.27bn.

The lowest overpayment was on Jobseeker’s Allowance, which saw a 0.3% overpayment, or £10m.

Although the sum lost due to fraud and error has increased steadily since 2005, when it stood at £2.5bn, the report notes that DWP’s benefit expenditure has also gradually increased over time, at about the same proportionate rate.

The figures come weeks after chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement that the government would save £2.3bn by strengthening “Whitehall’s capacity to prevent error and tackle fraud in the benefit and tax credit systems” by the end of this financial year.

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