HC Deb 27 April 1998 vol 311 c12
9. Dr. Brian Iddon (Bolton, South-East)

What action she has taken to tackle organised landlord fraud since 1 May 1997. [38487]

The Minister for Welfare Reform (Mr. Frank Field)

We made it clear in our election manifesto that rooting out fraud is an essential part of our reform of welfare. We have already introduced regulations that give local authorities tough new powers to tackle fraudulent landlords and tightened the rules on paying benefit direct to landlords. That is another election pledge being fulfilled.

Dr. Iddon

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. In Bolton, up to 80 per cent. of rents paid to private landlords are paid directly by cheque, and I suspect that the figures are similar in other towns and cities. That creates the problem that tenants often leave premises without informing the local authority and the landlord does not inform the authority, for convenience or for other reasons. Does my right hon. Friend agree that we need tighter inspections of such premises to ensure compliance?

Mr. Field

I do. My hon. Friend's local authority concentrated its £20,000 challenge money on landlord fraud and has doubled its weekly benefits savings. I congratulate it on that.

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