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Fraud crackdown saved taxpayers £6.5bn, says minister

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Measures to cut fraud saved the taxpayer £6.5bn last year, the government has said.

Better fraud prevention and reducing errors in the tax and benefits systems, along with more fraudsters being prosecuted, saved nearly £400 for every working family in the country, according to Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) alone generated £6bn of the additional savings through tax compliance.

The Department for Work and Pensions also cut hundreds of millions of pounds of fraud and error in the benefits system by making greater use of data matching, reviewing and correcting claims and imposing tougher penalties on those who seek to cheat the system.

A number of smaller gains were made by other departments. For example, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills saved £13m by introducing new checks on student loan applications.

The Government set up a Fraud, Error and Debt Taskforce in February 2011 after it was revealed that the public purse lost as much as £30bn to fraud and error each year.

Maude said: “Every government promises a crackdown on fraud and error but we are delivering – £6.5bn saved last year alone. That’s nearly £400 saved for every working family. But there are still too many cracks for fraudsters to slip through. Hard-working families expect us to address this. Our priority is to enable different parts of government to share data about fraudsters and work as one to catch them. This will ensure we further reduce the shocking losses to fraud and error much faster.”

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