Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the 10 largest benefit debts owed to her Department by individuals were at the latest date for which figures are available; and to which principal benefit the debts related in each such case.
Helen Goodman: From October 2009 we have set up a special task force to address debtors who owe the Department over £10,000. This will include debtors who have more than one debt.
Since its inception, the task force has recovered an additional £1.2 million between mid October 2009 and the early January 2010 from the high value debtors.
Since 2005-06, the Department has increased recoveries from £180 million per year to over £280 million.
We try and stop overpayments occurring in the first place. The Department's error reduction strategy will help to achieve this. It is based on preventing new error from entering the system; ensuring that customers and staff comply with benefit rules and identifying and correcting existing errors.
The 10 largest debts owed to the Department are as follows. These all relate to income support.