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Anger as Government pays out £2.3BILLION to benefits cheats who lie to get extra cash from taxpayers

TAXPAYERS have paid out £2.3billion to benefits fraudsters who wrongly claim extra cash, it emerged today.

Campaigners responded with fury after the price of benefits cheats to the public purse was revealed.

Another £1.8billion in benefits cash is paid to people who aren't supposed to get it thanks to bungling civil servants.

The amount of benefits money paid to cheats last year stood at £2.3billion – 1.6 per cent of the total budget – the Department for Work & Pensions said today.

The sum would be enough to hire up to 100,000 extra nurses.

Universal Credit has a worse fraud rate than any other type of benefit with 5.8 per cent of its budget disappearing in fraud.

As well as the cash paid to cheats, £700million was overpaid due to officials' mistakes and £1.1billion thanks to errors made by claimants.

Duncan Simpson of the Taxpayers' Alliance blasted: "With budgets tight and people working hard to make ends meet, government losing £3billion of our money through overpayments of benefits is a real slap in the face for taxpayers.

"The principle behind Universal Credit makes sense – it simplifies the welfare system and can eventually limit these kind of errors.

"But with overpayments increasing for the fourth year in a row, DWP needs to get a grip and stop this happening again."

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