§ Mr. Frank Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many national insurance numbers are in existence; how many national insurance numbers relate to people now deceased; how many national insurance numbers have been issued in each of the past 10 years, other than automatically to 16-year-olds; what are the categories into which those applying for national insurance, other than automatic issue to 16-year-olds, are placed; how many national insurance numbers have been issued in each of those categories in each of the past 10 years; how many prosecutions have been made in each of the last 10 years for fraudulent claims for national insurance numbers; and how many national insurance numbers have been cancelled in each of the last 10 years. 
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
There are 65,329,198 national insurance numbers held on the departmental central index.
Approximately 8.8 million records relate to people now deceased.
It is possible to state only how many national insurance numbers have been issued in three of the past 10 years in cases other than automatically to 16-year-olds.
- 1986: 142,964
- 1987: 155,571
- 1988: 174,902
This information is not available from 1989 onwards because of changes to the way in which the Department's computer systems operate.
In addition to those national insurance numbers issued automatically to 16-year-olds, applications may come from customers who have arrived from abroad and never been in the UK before or have not been included in the automatic registration process—for example, if child benefit has not been in payment.
It is not possible to state how many national insurance number allocations fall into each category as current 117W processes do not provide for the collection of this information.
Since records began in 1991 there have been approximately 500 to 550 prosecutions a year involving conspiracy to obtain benefit fraudulently from the Department by the misuse of identity details and national insurance numbers.
The numbers of national insurance numbers cancelled in the past 10 years are as follows:
- 1986: 7,576
- 1987: 6,719
- 1988: 13,763
- 1989: 10,827
- 1990: 11,924
- 1991: 8,878
- 1992: 13,230
- 993: 13,458
- 1994: 9,344
- 1995: 5,163 (to date).