The Audit Commission’s National Fraud Initiative (NFI) has found £1 billion of fraud in the public sector since it was set up in 1996.

Figures released by the NFI compare data held by 1,300 public sector and 77 private sector organisations. The £1 billion figure of money lost to fraud overpayments and errors include almost 100,000 cases of fraudulent council tax discounts, worth £160 million, over £250 million of housing benefit overpayments and £450 million of incorrect pension payments.

NFI investigations also saw the cancellation of 68,736 blue badges for disabled parking and 97,361 concessionary travel passes.

Jeremy Newman, chairman of the Audit Commission, said: ‘The vigilance of organisations from local councils to central government departments, supplying essential data and investigating potential frauds flagged up by the initiative, has paid off.’

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