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Ministerial Correction

Friday 1 February 2013

Work and Pensions

Welfare Spending

The following is the answer given by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith) to a question from the hon. Member for Central Devon (Mel Stride) during Work and Pensions Question Time on 28 January 2013.

Mel Stride: I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the progress that he has made in controlling welfare expenditure, particularly given that under the previous Government, the costs rose by no less than 60%. However, there is always more to do. Will he outline what we are doing to clamp down on welfare fraud?

Mr Duncan Smith: My hon. Friend is right about the situation that we were left. We are already bearing down on the problem. The figures show that we are making inroads into welfare fraud. Universal credit will have a much better record in this area, because we will be able

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to use real-time information to check up on who is in work and what they are earning on a monthly basis, rather than having to wait until the end of somebody’s time on tax credits at the end of a year and reconcile the figures over a long period. Under the current tax credits system, £5 billion has been written off as a result of fraud and error, and it looks like another £5 billion will also be written off.

[Official Report, 28 January 2013, Vol. 557, c. 658.]

Letter of correction from Iain Duncan Smith:

An error has been identified in the oral answer given to the hon. Member for Central Devon (Mel Stride).

The correct answer should have been:

Mr Duncan Smith: My hon. Friend is right about the situation that we were left. We are already bearing down on the problem. The figures show that we are making inroads into welfare fraud. Universal credit will have a much better record in this area, because we will be able to use real-time information to check up on who is in work and what they are earning on a monthly basis, rather than having to wait until the end of somebody’s time on tax credits at the end of a year and reconcile the figures over a long period. Under the current tax credits system, £4 billion has been written off as a result of fraud and error, and it looks like another £4 billion will also be written off.