The Whitehall spending auditor has declined to sign off in full the accounts of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for the 24th year running because of the extent of fraud and error in the benefits system.
Some £3.2 billion is thought to have been lost through overpayments in 2011/12. Underpayments came to an estimated £1.3bn.
Auditor general Amyas Morse said fraud and error was "unacceptably high" and qualified his opinion of the DWP's accounts.
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