HC Deb 23 March 1998 vol 309 cc61-2W
35. Mrs. Lait

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people have had their benefit claims withdrawn due to fraud; and what has been the saving to the social security budget since 1 May 1997. [34078]

Mr. Denham

The information is not available in the format requested.

The Department's fraud and security staff carry out a wide range of activities designed to improve the integrity of the system, to investigate and detect fraud, and to ensure that the correct amount of benefit is in payment. Records are kept of successful investigations which include cases subject to traditional investigative activity by fraud officers, as well as assurance activity on new and existing claims. There have been 813,255 successful preventive and detective activities in the period 1 May 1997 to 31 January. As a result of these activities, it is estimated that savings of £1.46 billion have been made.

Local authorities are responsible for the administration of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. Data on the number of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit cases where fraud is established are collected annually. Figures for 1997/98 are therefore not yet available. The amounts of weekly benefit savings claimed by local authorities in cases where fraud is established are collected quarterly.

The unaudited, cumulative total of such savings claimed up to the end of the third quarter of 1997/98 in Great Britain is £279 million.