Welfare fraud update

Department for Work and Pensions written statement – made am ar 13 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Chair, Treasury Committee, The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Public support for our welfare system relies on there being confidence that taxpayers’ money goes to those who need it, rather than into the hands of criminals. That is why we cannot allow fraudsters to take advantage of the system or the compassion of the British people.

DWP stopped an estimated £18 billion going into the wrong hands in 2022-23. Despite this, the rising tide of fraud across the economy since the pandemic has meant that over £8 billion a year has been overpaid in the welfare system due to fraud and error. This is money that could have been used for vital public services such as schools or hospitals.

In the continued fight against fraud, today the Government will publish a new paper setting out the progress we have made in tackling fraud and error in the welfare system - Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System: Going Further. The paper sets out the progress we have made in delivering the commitments in the Government's 2022 command paper Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System and it demonstrates where we are going further to protect taxpayers’ money from fraudsters.

As part of this publication, I am pleased to update the House that we have exceeded our savings target for 2023/24 by saving over £1.3 billion through our counter fraud activities.

Since 2022 the Government has delivered on the commitments made in the Fraud Plan to:

  • invest in our front line, hiring over 4,400 people across our counter fraud and Targeted Case Review programmes combined;
  • bring forward new powers to improve our access to vital third party data and save £600 million over the next 5 years, mirroring existing powers in HMRC;
  • and harness the power of both public and private sectors to share expertise and help shape our thinking on how we respond to evolving fraud risks.

We will go further, and today’s publication sets out how we are scaling up our fight against fraudsters by:

  • bringing forward a new Fraud Bill in the next parliament to treat benefit fraud like tax fraud;
  • tripling the size of our Targeted Case Review programme from that outlined in our Fraud Plan to reach almost 6,000 staff with the aim of saving £6.6 billion from this alone by 2027/28;
  • and preventing welfare fraud at its source using advanced data analytics and machine learning.

The Government has invested £900m into its Fraud Plan to combat fraud and protect taxpayers’ money. With continued investment, our Fraud Plan will save the taxpayer £9 billion by 2027/28.

With the action we have already taken, and our plan to go further still, we are clamping down on fraud and putting fairness at the heart of our welfare system.