HC Deb 28 January 2002 vol 379 cc40-1W
23. Sir Sydney Chapman

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on progress in tackling fraud in the benefit system. [28163]

Malcolm Wicks

We are getting to grips with social security fraud. We have set out our strategy for tightening up the system and ensuring that from the outset the right benefits are going to the right people.

We have introduced the Social Security Fraud Act 2001, which includes powers to improve fraud investigation and strengthen punishment for persistent offenders. We have increased the number of people sanctioned or prosecuted and we are working with local authorities to tackle housing benefit fraud and error.

Latest figures show that from our baseline period in 1998 to March 2001 we have reduced the level of fraud and error in income support and jobseeker's allowance by nearly 18 per cent. and we expect the good progress to continue.

25. Mr. Chope

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many prosecutions his Department has authorised, pursuant to the Targeting Fraud campaign.[28165]

Malcolm Wicks

It is not possible to estimate how many prosecutions have been authorised as a direct result of the Targeting Fraud campaign. However, more than 7,500 fraudsters have been successfully prosecuted since the campaign began.

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