asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to increase the maximum fine on those found guilty of making false applications for social security benefits.
The Social Security (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill currently being considered in Committee, increases the maximum fine for an offence under the Supplementary Benefit Act 1966 from £100 to £400, to provide parity with the maximum fine for offences under the Social Security Act 1975. This is in addition to a maximum sentence of three months' imprisonment. I am satisfied that these penalties, together with those which can be imposed when proceedings under the Theft Act 1968 are appropriate, are adequate. The Criminal Law Bill, which is presently in another place, increases the maximum summary fine for offences triable either way under the Theft Act, to £1,000.