Up to £8bn in means tested benefits is not being collected by those who are entitled to it according to Department for Work and Pensions figures published yesterday.
The figures, which cover 2004/05, come after HM Revenue and Customs figures showed that around £5bn of Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, other means tested benefits, went unclaimed annually earlier this year.
Child Poverty Action Group chief executive Kate Green said the figures showed that many people in greatest need were not receiving the support.
“Today’s figures suggest that the government is failing to make progress on take up rates for means tested benefits.
“If it continues to rely so much on means-tested benefit to reach its targets for ending child poverty, it will fail. The balance needs to shift to increase non means-tested support, like Child Benefit, that is more certain to reach those who need it,” she said.