HL Deb 10 February 2005 vol 669 cc138-9WA
Baroness Noakes

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will provide a breakdown by type of benefit of the £3 billion of fraud and error in benefit payments referred to in the Comptroller and Auditor-General's report on the 2003–04 resource accounts for the Department for Work and Pensions. [HL1017]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham)

Since 1997 we have saved the equivalent of over £1 billion through our efforts in reducing fraud and error. The figure of £3 billion is a broad estimate of the amount overpaid each year across all benefits. This estimate is subject to substantial rounding because fraud and error loss is not measured continuously across the less vulnerable benefits. As a result, this estimate will not necessarily reflect the reported decrease where specific benefits are examined in isolation. The resulting figure is rounded to the nearer £ billion to reflect this uncertainty. In these benefits where fraud and error is measured continuously there is a clear trend towards reduced loss.

The information is in the table.

Breakdown of overpaid benefits for year 2003–04 (£ millions)
Continuously measured benefits
Income Support 610
Jobseeker's Allowance 230
Minimum Income Guarantee/Pension Credit 1170
Housing Benefit 2650
Contributions from previously measured benefits
Disability Living Allowance 3660
Attendance Allowance 320
Retirement Pension 386
Carer's Allowance 357
Incapacity Benefit 387
Contributions from unmeasured benefits 4230
Instrument of payment fraud 568
Rounded total 3,000


1 This is the latest published figure for MIG and relates to the year April 2002 to March 2003.

2 This is the latest published figure for HB and relates to the year October 2002 to September 2003.

3 These figures are derived from older measurement exercises, adjusted in line with increases in expenditure, and the most recent results from continuous official error checks where available. These figures are subject to considerable uncertainty but are currently the best estimates available.

4 No fraud and error measurement activity has taken place on the remainder of the benefits. A rough estimate is made of their contribution to total fraud and error, based on overpayment rates in other benefits.

5 Value of stolen and forged Giro cheques and order books.