HC Deb 20 February 1995 vol 255 cc11-2
14. Dr. Twinn

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how he is planning to reduce fraud involving order books and giros.

Mr. Arbuthnot

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has announced his intention to replace order books and girocheques with a more secure system based on benefit payment cards. This should eliminate fraud related to payments, and will also provide substantial administrative savings.

Dr. Twinn

Does my hon. Friend agree that fraud is widely resented by the vast majority of benefit recipients and by taxpayers? Does he welcome the £100 million of savings that were made in the last financial year in giro and order book frauds? Does he agree that his proposals will be welcomed in the fight against fraud in the future?

Mr. Arbuthnot

My hon. Friend is right. There has also been a consistent increase in the overall savings from fraud that the Department has made. Last year, the savings were £654 million, which was an increase of 17 per cent. on the year before. That is good news for everyone.

Mr. Skinner

Is the Minister aware that one of the biggest frauds in social security is the fact that about £500 million a year is lost by employers who take their national insurance and tax from employees and do not hand it over to the responsible authorities? Hardly any action is taken against those employers. Why do not the Government do something about it? The Secretary of State can keep his trap shut.

Mr. Arbuthnot

The hon. Gentleman has raised that matter before. He was wrong then and he is wrong now.

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