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House of Lords written question – answered on 20th July 2011.

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Photo of Lord Wills Lord Wills Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made, following the Transparency International report of 15 June Corruption in the UK, of corruption in (a) central government, and (b) local government.

Photo of Lord Taylor of Holbeach Lord Taylor of Holbeach Conservative

The Government take seriously any allegation of corruption. We expect Ministers, civil servants and political advisers to abide by the law and conduct government business in accordance with standards set out in the Ministerial Code, the Civil Service Code and the Code for Special Advisers.

We have also put transparency at the centre of what we do. We have an ambitious programme of work to make the public sector more transparent and accountable so as to strengthen the public's trust in government.

Fraud is a priority. The National Fraud Authority estimates that £21 billion is lost to fraud in the public sector each year. Of this, £15 billion is due to fraud in the tax system, £1.5 billion in the benefits system, £2.6 billion in central government and £2.1 billion in local government. The Government's Counter Fraud Task Force, chaired by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, is overseeing a programme of work to tackle the estimated £21 billion lost to fraud in the public sector each year. It has already delivered £12 million in savings, by undertaking pilots using innovative technology to prevent and detect fraud. These pilots are expected to save £1.5 billion over the next four years.

The National Fraud Authority has also been working with council chief executives, finance directors and professional bodies to develop a local government fraud strategy. The strategy aims to identify the key fraud risks faced by local government and the common measures that can be taken to improve the prevention and detection of fraud and realise savings.

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