Following a BBC report last night which claimed that “tens of millions of pounds of public money is believed to have been stolen” through Universal Credit fraud, the Committee has sent an urgent series of questions to DWP Permanent Secretary Peter Schofield.
The questions centre on whether the Department recognises the level of Universal Credit fraud described in the report, and how it has treated frontline staff concerns about fraud - including fraudulent claims made without the named claimant’s knowledge or consent.
Commenting on the Department’s 2018-19 accounts, which showed error and fraud at DWP running at the highest levels since it began counting, Committee Chair Frank Field said:
"In the Department's fantastical predictions, Universal Credit was supposed to reduce error. Instead it is the most error-riddled of all benefits, and it’s only getting worse.
“DWP wasted billions of pounds of public money on error last year alone but that doesn’t begin to count the human cost. When will DWP get a grip on this escalating problem?”
Image: Roger Harris