Figures released from the DWP show that benefit over-payments due to fraud and error remained at a record high of £3.3 billion in 2013/14, but you wouldn’t know this from reading the gushing press release that accompanied the statistics.
Instead the DWP boldly claims that Jobseekers Allowance and Income Support over-payments are at their lowest recorded levels. But these represent just ten percent of the total amount lost through fraud and error. The amount of Housing Benefit overpaid, for example, has soared to £1.38 billion and is by far the largest source of fraud and error in the system. No-one seems to be checking how much of this figure ended up in the pockets of landlords.
With Iain Duncan Smith busy bungling the launch of Universal Credit, it was left to the Minister for Welfare Reform, the aptly named Lord Fraud, to defend the figures, which he did by if…
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