New fraud figures

A new government report explains that fraud costs the public sector £21.2bn a year. It claims that “The majority of the fraud loss is due to fraud against the tax and benefits systems”. That presumably is why Panorama recently mis-reported benefit fraud as being £22 billion. What the report’s introduction does not explain – and what the statement disguises – is that the benefits systems does not belong with the larger figure at all. Tax fraud is estimated at £15 billion; the next largest loss is through procurement fraud, at £2.4 billion; and benefit and tax credit fraud together come to £1.5 billion. Annex 1 has the estimates.

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