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Data sharing powers to continue following statutory review

The Digital Economy Act 2017 gave the government data sharing powers that allow it to combat fraud committed against the public sector.

A statutory review, which was published last week, shows that taxpayers have been saved £137 million because of these data sharing powers. The review showed that the Act has enabled more than 100 data sharing pilots across both local authorities and governments or agencies.

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The savings were categorised as £99.5 million from identifying Covid-19 loan scheme fraud, £14.9 million from fraud identified in council tax and housing benefit systems, £5.1 million from identifying companies that were fraudulently misstating their accounting and corporate practices to avoid paying tax, and £5 million from council tax debt owed by those in employment.

As a result of the review, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, who is Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, decided to keep the fraud and debt powers contained in the Digital Economy Act. The government subsequently put a report to the UK and Scottish Parliaments and Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies summarising the conclusions of the review.

Four of the data sharing pilots have already been converted to standard practice and there are plans for more to join them. Respondents to the consultation expressed that they had no privacy concerns about the powers.

See:  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-data-sharing-powers-save-taxpayers-137-million-since-introduction

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