Fraud and Errors in the Benefits System

The table below is Table 1: Total Overpayments since 2005/06 from the government’s statistical first release Fraud and Error in the Benefit System: Preliminary 2010/11 Estimates.

The cost due to fraud is, it seems, always in the news yet, by comparison, the coverage relating to what the table refers to as “customer error” and “official error” is minimal.  In the last three years, according to the table, the percentage costs relating to fraud have been equal to customer errors alone – in monetary terms, the latter has been sightly higher than the former.

If we consider just “errors” then, again for the last three years, fraud has been running at approximately half that of errors.

Total Overpayments

2005/06

2006/07

2007/08

2008/09

2009/10 Last published full
year

Preliminary 2010/11 New results

Fraud

0.6%

0.6%

0.6%

0.8%

0.8%

0.8%

£0.6bn

£0.8bn

£0.8bn

£1.0bn

£1.1bn

£1.2bn

Customer Error

0.8%

0.8%

0.7%

0.8%

0.8%

0.8%

£1.0bn

£0.9bn

£0.8bn

£1.1bn

£1.2bn

£1.3bn

Official Error

0.7%

0.8%

0.7%

0.6%

0.6%

0.6%

£0.9bn

£0.9bn

£0.9bn

£0.8bn

£1.0bn

£0.9bn

TOTAL

2.1%

2.2%

2.0%

2.2%

2.2%

2.2%

£2.5bn

£2.6bn

£2.6bn

£2.9bn

£3.3bn

£3.4bn

EXPENDITURE

£116.2bn

£119.8bn

£125.9bn

£135.7bn

£148.0bn

£153.6bn

David M. Davison

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