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ROW OVER DISABLED BENEFITS

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For the ninth year running, the national audit office has refused to approve the annual accounts of the department ...
For the ninth year running, the national audit office has refused to approve the annual accounts of the department of social security. The Guardian (p8) reports that one of the reasons given is the department's own estimates of fraud -£2.3bn a year - in income support and disability living allowance benefits.

Whitehall officials supplied journalists with examples of supposed benefit fraudsters which The Guardian reproduces. However, the paper reports that there are complaints from disability groups who are outraged by the NAO's use of a DSS estimate, which, they suggest, is misleading. Co-chair of the Disability Benefits Consortium Richard Wood is quoted as saying that the NAO report 'falls well below the normal high standards of the organisation'. Junior social security minister Baroness Hollis has told these groups there is 'no evidence' of widespread fraud.
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