§ Mr. Sheerman
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what will be the cost of introducing a benefits smart card system. 
§ Mr. Heald
The feasibility studies estimated set up costs for a magnetic stripe card system and supporting technology to he £135 million. The same studies estimate that when fully implemented the system would save approximately £140 billion a year in benefits fraud. Competitive proposals are being considered now. under the private finance initiative, from the three short-listed potential service providers. The cost will not he known until the procurement process has been completed.