A statement from The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts:
This Department has the biggest budget in Whitehall and its inability, 24 years in a row, to administer its spending properly is just unacceptable.
With fraud and error of £4.5 billion in 2011-12, roughly the same as in previous years, huge sums of money are being lost to the public purse that could have been spent on our schools and hospitals. Government spending is at its tightest for over 50 years and it simply can’t afford to carry on like this.
The Department is relying on the introduction of Universal Credit to get its house in order but the transition to Universal Credit is full of risks and the Department won’t even tell us if it is on schedule.
The Department has got to get a grip on fraud and error now. Despite its assurances to my Committee, it has not done so and it must do better.