HC Deb 19 February 1996 vol 272 cc29-30W
Mr. Rooney

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what further measures he is assessing to combat benefit fraudulent claims. [14864]

Mr. Heald

[holding answer 12 February 1996]: The Benefits Agency's comprehensive security strategy includes a five-year plan for improving security and control of the benefits system.

The further measures include the continuing benefit review programme to establish the scale and patterns of fraud and incorrectness in all the major benefits; increasing the numbers of visits to, and other checks of, claimants to benefit; expanding data matching to compare information on DS S computers; investigation of employers who collude with employees who make fraudulent claims; the gradual replacement of order books and girocheques with a benefit payment card; improving the integrity and control of national insurance numbers; and the introduction in targeted areas of mobile electronic stop notice scanners in post office to stop the fraudulent encashment of order books.

Local authorities administer housing benefit. New measures being introduced include the development of a central computer register to cross-check claims, ear marking of £8 million for challenging funding to encourage innovation in fighting fraud, and a strengthening of the financial incentives for local authorities to pursue fraud.