§ Mr. Meacher
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many cases of alleged legal and financial irregularities have been investigated by his supplementary benefits staff in each of the past five years; and with what results.
§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
[pursuant to his reply, 30 November 1979, c. 832]: The work done in the Department in investigating social security fraud, if this is what the hon. Member has in mind, is mostly 273W done by specialist staff operating across the whole range of social security benefits, rather than by staff who specifically administer supplementary benefits. How-
Supplementary Benefit Fraud Number of Year Ending December Year Ending February 1974 1975 1976 1977/78(2) 1978/79(2) Investigations(3) … 40,352 61,256 71,390 69,477(4) 70,398(4) Prosecutions (5) … 8,776 9,739 11,683 16,825 19,217 Convictions … 8,605 9,510 11,440 16,505 18,820 Note: (1) Some elements in this table have had to be estimated. (2) After 1976 the figures are based on a February to February year. (3) Some of the cases investigated initially by the Department were subsequently transferred to the police. (4) These are not wholly comparable with earlier figures: the test of "prima facie fraud" was made more selective as from 1976. (5) A proportion of the cases prosecuted would have been the subject of investigation in a previous year.