HC Deb 23 July 1996 vol 282 cc298-9W
Mr. Matthew Banks

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what further studies he has made to measure the amount of benefit fraud; and if he will make a statement. [39680]

Mr. Heald

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, announced in July 1995 that he had instigated a series of benefit reviews across the major social security benefits to identify and quantify the level of fraud. Results of the reviews of income support, unemployment benefit, housing benefit and retirement pension have already been announced. A further review of invalid care allowance has now been completed.

This shows that the vast majority of customers are entitled to the benefit they are receiving.

However fraud has been found in 6.5 per cent. of cases representing annual overpayments of an estimated £37 million. The largest area of fraud uncovered was where recipients were failing to provide care to the disabled person.

As a result of these findings, we are introducing further measures to secure benefit payments for the future whilst ensuring the benefit remains accessible to those entitled to receive it.