HC Deb 16 November 2001 vol 374 cc935-6W
Mr. Andrew Turner

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was recovered, in the last year for which information is available, of the benefits paid to those ineligible to receive such benefits by reason of(a) fraud and (b) mistake; and how much is estimated to remain uncollected. [7960]

Malcolm Wicks

[holding answer 16 October 2001]It is not possible to separate the total amount of overpaid benefit recovered into overpayments due to fraud and those due to other reasons. At the end of September 2001, the total amount of overpayments remaining uncollected was estimated to be £1,040 million.

Mr. Willetts

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much a person must have in savings to receive interest equal to the value of(a) the average income support entitlement and (b) the average housing benefit entitlement, if interest is paid according to the base rate of the clearing banks. [7920]

Malcolm Wicks

The information is in the table

Benefit Average amount payable per week (£) Amount of savings needed to earn the equivalent amount in interest
Income Support 70.21 Between £70,000 and £90.000
Housing Benefit 51.20 Between £50,000 and £65,000


1. Calculations are based on a bank base rate of interest of 5.25 per cent.

2. The range given reflects the extent to which interest is gross or net of basic rate income tax.

3. Average benefit rates taken from Housing Benefit Quarterly Summary Statistics May 2001 and the Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiry, 5 per cent. sample, May 2001.

4. Interest rate taken from Bank of England information on bank base rate appropriate to end of May 2001. This interest rate is arrived at through information provided by selected clearing banks. It has been assumed for the purposes of the calculations that interest can be obtained on a weekly basis without loss compared to the annual rate.

5.The amounts of savings have been rounded to the nearest five thousand pounds.