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Supplementary Benefits (Irregularities)

Volume 975: debated on Wednesday 5 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many cases of alleged legal and financial irregularities have been investigated by his supplementary benefits staff in each of the past five years; and with what results.

[pursuant to his reply, 30 November 1979, c. 832]: The work done in the Department in investigating social security fraud, if this is what the hon. Member has in mind, is mostly done by specialist staff operating across the whole range of social security benefits, rather than by staff who specifically administer supplementary benefits. How-

Supplementary Benefit Fraud
Number ofYear Ending DecemberYear Ending February
1974197519761977/78(2)1978/79(2)
Investigations(3)40,35261,25671,39069,477(4)70,398(4)
Prosecutions (5)8,7769,73911,68316,82519,217
Convictions8,6059,51011,44016,50518,820
Note:
(1) Some elements in this table have had to be estimated.
(2) After 1976 the figures are based on a February to February year.
(3) Some of the cases investigated initially by the Department were subsequently transferred to the police.
(4) These are not wholly comparable with earlier figures: the test of "prima facie fraud" was made more selective as from 1976.
(5) A proportion of the cases prosecuted would have been the subject of investigation in a previous year.