HC Deb 06 July 1998 vol 315 c719
1. Mr. David Hanson (Delyn)

What steps she is taking to tackle housing benefit fraud organised by landlords. [47468]

The Minister for Welfare Reform (Mr. Frank Field)

I thank my hon. Friend for his persistence with this question. Since the general election, we have made it easier for local authorities to stop payments to bogus landlords, to recover such payments and to collect information on other properties that the landlords may have and from which they may be making bogus claims.

Mr. Hanson

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that it is unacceptable for £4 billion-worth of housing benefit fraud to be perpetrated each year, and that the steps that he took in the regulations in November last year will go some way towards helping to prevent that abuse? Prevention is certainly better than the taxpayer being swindled by fraudulent landlords.

Mr. Field

I can confirm all my hon. Friend's assertions. I draw to the attention of the House the record of his local authority, which has doubled its fraud savings target and introduced mechanisms for checking whether landlords are bogus, to prevent such claims from being made in the first place.

Forward to