§ Mrs. Beckett
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many investigations were carried out for benefit fraud in each year since 1978–79; and what was the success rate in each of those investigations.
§ Mr. Hague
The administration of benefit fraud is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the right hon. Member with such information as is available.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mrs. Margaret Beckett, dated 21 January 1994:
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about benefit fraud.
I regret that I am unable to provide all the information you requested but I hope that the following is helpful.
The sector fraud organisation was set up in its present form only in January 1991 and although it is constantly refining the way in which statistics are maintained, figures for the period you requested are not available. Figures for the year ending 31 March 1992 are incomplete. However, from the information that is available, it is estimated that approximately 526,000 investigations were undertaken. Of these, approximately 250,000 had a positive outcome. In the year ending 31 March 1993 investigations were undertaken in approximately 560,000 cases of which 270,000 had a positive result.
I hope you find this reply helpful.