MPs on the committee complained that, even with a three-year £2bn Welfare Modernisation Fund, it will take a long time to replace 20 separate systems and end the need for clerical interventions in welfare administration.
The committee were reporting on continued fraud and error in IncomeSupport for which the Department’s accounts, and those of the SocialSecurity Department which preceded them, have been repeatedly criticisedand qualified by the National Audit Office.
The report said that the Department is making progress towards targetsfor reducing fraud by 25% by March 2004 and 50% by Marsh 2006, when itwill still exceed £700 million.
The committee concluded: ‘New investment is crucial to reducing errorin benefit payments and improving the scope to identify potentialfraudsters across the 20 or so systems operated by the Department.
‘It is disappointing we will not see significant improvements ininformation technology systems until 2006.’
The Department estimate £2bn losses in fraud alone on Income Support and Jobseekers’ Allowance and Housing Benefit alone.
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