Government attempts to cut fraud by introducing the Universal Credit risk being "seriously undermined" by issues with housing benefits, MPs say.{jcomments on}

The Work and Pensions Committee warned that gaps in the system could also increase the number of self-employed people working for "cash in hand".

But the government said its reforms were expected to cut losses due to fraud by £1bn over the next five years.

Universal Credit merges six working-age benefits into a single payment. These are jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, income support, child tax credit, working tax credit and housing benefit.

Universal Credit is gradually being rolled out, with completion expected by 2017.

Under the current housing benefit system, local authorities can cross-check claims across a range of data relating to other council services.

The committee said that, unless the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) could cross-check Universal Credit claims in a similar way, it could be less effective in tackling fraud and error.

Read the full news story from the BBC here

Read the Work and Pensions Committee - Sixth Report: “Fraud and error in the benefits system” here

A summary can be found here


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