New fraud, error and debt measures will save taxpayer £2.6 billion a year

26 Mar 2015 02:06 PM

A government report published yesterday sets out how new measures to tackle fraud and error will save the taxpayer £2.6 billion a year.

Measures include simplifying the benefit and tax credits system, more accurate monitoring of changes in income through Real Time Information (RTI) data, and improved detection of fraud and error through improved sharing of data across government.

The report – Tackling fraud, errror and debt in the benefits and tax credits system – published jointly by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), explains how changes to the benefits and tax credits system including the full roll-out of Universal Credit with RTI will lead to the savings.

RTI enables DWP to adjust each monthly Universal Credit payments according to people’s actual earnings – preventing the risk of overpayment and reducing opportunities to commit fraud. This type of fraud and error accounts for around £1 billion of overpayments a year.

The publication of the report comes 5 years after the government launched the Fraud, Error and Debt Taskforce to co-ordinate efforts to combat fraud and support departments to undertake major reform in the benefits and tax credits system.

Mark Harper, Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, said:

While the overwhelming majority of people are honest and pay or claim what is due, a small minority are dishonest and try to cheat the system. Tackling levels of fraud, and progressively reducing error and debt in the system has therefore been a government priority.

Universal Credit is a single, simpler benefit which is reducing fraud and error and will further deliver huge savings once it is fully rolled out. Our reforms, together with innovative digital technologies and improved data sharing, will ensure that taxpayers’ money continues to support those who need it most.

David Gauke, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

The progress this government has made on tackling fraud, error and debt in the benefits and tax credits system provides a solid foundation for future, sustained savings, while we take a zero tolerance approach to fraud.

Our reforms are making the welfare system simpler, fairer and more transparent.


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