HC Deb 16 February 1987 vol 110 cc405-6W
Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Prime Minister if she will set up a commission of inquiry into the house-building fraud involving exemption certificates and public sector housing estates from which terrorists have benefited, as exposed by Mr. Justice Nicholson in a recent case heard in Belfast, and in particular into the workings of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in relation to those estates and into the scope of the fraud; what information she has as to whether there have been any similar cases in other parts of the United Kingdom and as to what sums of public money arc involved.

The Prime Minister

The recent case to which my hon. Friend refers was the latest in a long line of successful prosecutions for tax exemption fraud in Northern Ireland. In the past two years, 87 persons have been convicted in respect of frauds totalling in excess of £13,250,000; other cases are pending or remain under investigation. There is no evidence of any similar cases in the rest of the United Kingdom.

I am satisfied that the Royal Ulster Constabulary, with the full support of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and other relevant agencies, has made commendable progress in combating this potential source of finance for terrorist organisations. I therefore, see no need for a commission in enquiry on the lines proposed by my hon. Friend.

The Government will maintain their determined efforts to cut off all the sources of finance for such organisations.