HC Deb 02 December 1999 vol 340 c293W
Mr. Cox

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been the estimated loss to his Department as a result of benefit fraud during the last 12 months. [100440]

Mr. Rooker

Previous estimates have shown that £2 billion a year has definitely been lost through fraud. A further £3 billion may have been lost in cases where fraud is strongly suspected and a further £2 billion where there is some suspicion of fraud.

We are now measuring the level of fraud and error in Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance, the two most vulnerable benefits, thoroughly investigating a monthly random sample of cases in each Benefits Agency area. Staff error is measured separately by a special team within the Benefits Agency. The latest period for which figures are available is the 12 months ending September 1998 where the level of fraud and error in these benefits was £1.4 billion or 9 per cent. of the total benefit paid.