§ Mr. Denham
The Benefit Integrity Project aims to ensure that those in receipt of DLA are entitled to it. While it is right to check that people are receiving the correct amount of benefit, we are determined that those checks should be undertaken as sensitively as possible. Also, that we should ensure all decisions taken as a result of the project are right. We have, therefore, acted to introduce an extra safeguard to improve the quality of, and confidence in, benefit decisions made by the Project.
The administration of this programme is a matter for Peter Mathison, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from David Riggs to Ms Margaret Moran, dated 23 March 1998:The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked Peter Mathison to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning how many people in the Luton South constituency have been (a) disallowed benefit and (b) received increased benefit as a result of the Benefit Integrity Project. As Mr. Mathison is away from the office on leave, I am replying.The information is not available in the format requested. The database of casework has not been designed to extract information geographically during the project. To do so would necessitate high cost and disruption to the processing of ongoing casework. However, once the casework has been completed a full evaluation of the data is planned to provide a geographical analysis.As at 31 January 1998, 54,839 cases nationally have been examined as part of the BIP. Of the total cases dealt with 1,299 have had their benefit increased, 42,730 have been unchanged, 6,884 have had their benefit reduced and 3,926 have had their benefit stopped. The total includes 10,811 renewal cases; of which 334 had their benefit increased, 5,601 remain unchanged, 2,907 have had their benefit reduced and 1,969 have had their benefit decreased.A monthly statistical report can be found in the House of Commons library.I hope you find this reply helpful.