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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 23:35 GMT 00:35 UK
UK 'no worse' for benefit fraud
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Benefit fraud and error cost taxpayers 2.6bn last year
Britain is no different from many other developed countries in the level of benefit fraud and error it suffers, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.

The NAO compared fraud and error in the UK with the United States, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.

The body concluded that the UK government was doing the most out of the countries studied to combat fraud and error.

In the 2004/5 tax year, benefit fraud and error cost the taxpayer 2.6bn.

Worldwide problem

The NAO report highlighted several government initiatives to tackle benefit fraud, such as professional training for fraud investigators and an anti-benefit fraud national advertising campaign.

In addition, the NAO said sharing information had helped government agencies to produce a risk profile to weed out claims that were more likely to be fraudulent.

"Social security fraud and error is a problem not only for the UK, but also across the world," said Sir John Bourn, auditor general.

"While we always want to see further progress, the international picture tells us that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is at the forefront in identifying, measuring and reducing this kind of fraud and error."

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