HC Deb 23 January 2001 vol 361 c568W
Mr. Field

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the measures he(a) has taken and (b) is planning to take to prevent and detect fraudulent claims of working families tax credit. [146993]

Dawn Primarolo

The measures taken to prevent and detect fraudulent claims to the Working Families Tax Credit include redesigned application forms and guidance to make applications easier to complete while warning of the consequences of incorrect and fraudulent applications. Staff dealing with tax credit applications have been trained to explain the importance of providing correct and complete information. Staff also have powers to obtain information in support of an application where required and to check information provided by applicants against the relevant details already held. Risk assessments of applications based on accumulated Inland Revenue and DSS experience of fraudulent claims are also carried out, together with formal inquiries by specialist staff into applications identified as requiring further investigation. Where fraud is found to have taken place, financial penalties can be imposed and in the most serious cases applicants may be prosecuted.

As to future plans, I refer my right hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 16 November 2000, Official Report, column 758W.