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Benefit Claims (Testing)

Volume 928: debated on Friday 18 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in the light of his Written Answer to the hon. Member for Louth, Official Report, 28th February 1977, column 58, what steps are being taken to ensure that staff at the Social Security Office near Croydon at which Mr. Kwok Fong recently claimed benefit fully ascertain claimants' assets before making social security payments.

As was implicit in my reply to the hon. Member on 28th February, I am satisfied that Mr. Kwok Fong was properly questioned about his assets and that he made a deliberate false statement.During training, staff are instructed on the importance of thorough questioning and of verification of statements and management supervises interviewing to see that it is carried out as effectively as possible. It is inevitable that, in a scheme designed to meet needs when they arise, some cases of deliberate fraud will occur. Our defence must be thorough investigation, vigilance and awareness—and a determination to prosecute offenders of this kind when found.I set out the action we are taking on such matters in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Lamond) on 17th February.—[Vol. 926, c.