Magazine article Public Finance

Labour Veteran Slams Ministers for £38Bn Public Sector Fraud Bill

Magazine article Public Finance

Labour Veteran Slams Ministers for £38Bn Public Sector Fraud Bill

Article excerpt

The government has come under fire from a senior Labour politician for failing to tackle public sector fraud, which costs taxpayers £38bn a year, according to experts.

An April 26 report by accountancy firm Maci p tyre Hudson and Portsmouth University's Centre for Counter Fraud Studies puts £22bn of the losses down to errors and fraud across local and central government. A further £16bn was a result of uncollected taxes. The £38bn total was more than double previous official estimates.

Former welfare reform minister Frank Field, who is Labour candidate for Birken head, told Public Finance that there was 'a conspiracy to talk this down' among ministers. 'There has been a real reluctance to admit that people will rip anyone off, including public services,' he added.

Field said all parties were 'missing the trick' by not setting out how they would recoup the losses to help pay off the country's £164bn public deficit.

'I think the most important thing for the new government, whoever it is, should be to put in place an effective counter fraud strategy across the public sector so we eliminate fraud first, before we start cutting public services. …

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