The numbers in this BBC article aren’t making any sense, it seems.

The claim is that members of the Commons Public Accounts Committee are saying that efforts to tackle fraud and error in the tax credits system are not as effective as they should be.

But the numbers don’t add up.

The article says fraud and error accounted for £4.5 billion in overpayments in 2013-14 – but the government’s own press release of June 4 this year gave a total of £1.26 billion in fraud and error favouring the claimant for the same period of time.

Of this, more than half the total – £710 million – was due to error, leaving just £550 million in fraud, it seems.

The BBC article gives the impression that tax credits claimants are stealing slightly more than eight times as much as seems, in fact, to be the case.

This seems worthy of a query to the BBC.

Ministers have made progress in reducing benefit fraud and error but their efforts reveal a “paucity of ambition”, a committee of MPs has said.

Despite fraud and error in tax credit payments falling from 8.1% of total spend in 2010-11 to 4.4% in 2013-4, the Public Accounts Committee said £4.6bn was still overpaid to claimants.

Labour MP Meg Hillier said “too much money had gone where it shouldn’t”.

But officials said levels of overpayment were at record lows.

As well as £4.5bn in overpayments in 2013-14, £1.5bn was under-paid.

Source: Benefit fraud clampdown ‘lacks ambition’ say MPs – BBC News

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