Magazine article Public Finance

DWP Loses £3Bn and Has Its Accounts Qualified

Magazine article Public Finance

DWP Loses £3Bn and Has Its Accounts Qualified

Article excerpt

The Department for Work and Pensions this week had its accounts qualified for the seventeenth year in succession, after losses of almost £3bn.

National Audit Office head Sir John Bourn qualified his opinion because of the scale of the losses through fraud, error and overpayments.

At around £2.7bn, they represent 2.2% of the DWPs total expenditure of £124.4bn in 2005/06.

Public Accounts Committee chair Edward Leigh lambasted the department for losing an 'almost unimaginable' sum. 'If this seems like an annual event, that is because it is exactly that,' Leigh said.

'Every year since 1989, the DWP... has had its accounts qualified for losing and wasting too much money.'

But there was more cheering news for the department with the NAOs assertion that 'real progress' was being made in tackling its problems.

According to DWP estimates, there was a £200m reduction in losses through fraudulent income support, Jobseekers Allowance and housing benefit claims. …

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