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Brits walk off with £1.7 billion extra

Figures released by the government have revealed that £1.7 billion has been overpaid to the British public last year in tax credits.Since the tax credit scheme started in 2003, around £9 billion has been overpaid, of which nearly £5 billion looks unlikely to be recovered and £1.9 billion is already considered lost.David Laws, Liberal Democrat spokesman for work and pensions, said: "These figures are a disgrace. When fraud and error is added to overpayments, £9 billion has been wrongly paid out over just three years. The Treasury is supposed to be the guardian of public money, but it has presided over waste on a monumental scale." Speaking on BBC 2's Daily Politics programme, Mr Laws said: "Today's figures are bad enough; £5.7 billion of overpayments in three years. But what we have also discovered, by looking at the government's figures, is that these figures do not include over £3 billion of money lost by the Treasury through fraud and error over the same period. "So the amount of money that has actually been wrongly paid out has is £9 billion of tax credits. That is £1 in every £5 that has been paid out in the last three years."

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