§ Mr. Frank Cook
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much the Government have spent on the detection of benefit fraud for each year sine 1979.
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
Benefit fraud is investigated by the Benefits Agency, Employment Service and local authorities. Details of local authority expenditure on benefit fraud investigation are not held centrally.
The Benefits Agency's expenditure on fraud investigation is only available for the last two years. Prior to the formation of the Benefits Agency, most anti-fraud work was integrated with benefit claims processing, and other mainstream local office activities, and separate cost data was not kept. However, the bulk of investigations are now carried out by separately managed units for which costs are known.
£ million 1992–93 66 1993–94 69
These figures include staff and running costs, but not accommodation. Benefit savings for the same periods were £558 million and £654 million respectively.473W
The cost of Employment Service fraud investigations is available for the past seven years. The figures (including benefit savings for the same periods) are:
Costs £ millions Savings £ millions 1987–88 15.9 70.5 1988–89 18.7 81.27 1989–90 20.6 70.72 1990–91 21.4 64.94 1991–92 21.5 55.88 1992–93 26.4 71.15 1993–94 26.8 80.12
These figures include staff, accommodation and running costs.