HC Deb 24 July 1973 vol 860 cc505-6W
Mr. McCrindle

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has yet begun any of the special drives against abuse of unemployment benefit which he announced on the publication of the Fisher Report; and with what results.

Mr. Dudley Smith

Pilot drives against abuse of unemployment benefit have recently been carried out in all my Department's regions. They were based principally on checks of local office records against lists of employees in industries and occupations where there is particular scope for concurrent working and drawing unemployment benefit. Further investigation was made where this check revealed a claim to benefit by someone apparently in employment. Where no trace of any claim benefit was found there were no further inquiries. Of the cases of suspicion investigated as a result of these checks, fraud has so far been established in over 400 cases, and a number of cases are still under investigation. The total number of employees covered by the initial check was about 14,000.

Over and above the number of cases where fraud was established, I am satisfied that these drives had a deterrent effect in the areas concerned. My Department will be assessing these results in detail to see what lessons can be learned for the future.