The government accounts concerned with welfare benefits have been qualified by the comptroller and auditor general for the 14th year in a row because of fraud and errors totalling £3bn.
The extent of the losses in the report and accounts of the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Social Security were labelled ‘substantial’ by Sir John Bourn, who said he would continue to qualify the department’s accounts each year until the losses are brought down from 2.8% of gross expenditure to below 1%.
Public Accounts Committee chairman Edward Leigh labelled the losses, ‘intolerable’ and said that while some progress had been made tackling fraud and error, there was a need for the department to face up to the enormous challenge of making substantial inroads.
The NAO are publishing a further report on benefit fraud later this week.
The annual report of the DWP showed Income Support and Jobseeker’sAllowance were the worst performing, but losses ran at 6.8% compared to 9% in 1997/98, a reduction in excess of their 8.1% target.
DWP accounts for expenditure totalling £107bn per annum.